There is not enough being done to protect our town

Residents have voiced their frustration over recent flooding in Stonehaven as they start to ask questions about why it happened again after the floods of 2009 with many saying not enough work was done to look into flood alleviation in the town.

The issues relating to the flooding were discussed on social network sites in recent days with many expressing their ideas for what could be done to protect the town.

Lorraine Watson from the Carron fish bar, which has previously been affected by flooding said: “There is not enough being done to protect our town. I think it’s time the council had a town meeting somewhere large enough for us all to attend and answer our questions about what’s been done in the past three years to prevent more flooding, but more importantly what are the future plans. You can’t have all these families and businesses with no insurance.”

Others voiced their frustration over the lack of improvement in flood defences, with one resident saying: “When it happened to us in 2009 we were told at various meetings that it was a 1 in 100-200 year event and that measures would be put in place to ensure it NEVER happened again.” Another said: “I don’t feel safe.”

However many felt that no-one is to blame saying that you cannot stop the weather. The discussion also revealed a number of unanswered questions about the night of the flood, with queries being made about the flood wardens’ role, whether the flood gate was used and the lack of warning.

When asked about these issues, an Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “As has been widely reported, weather conditions ahead of the flooding were atrocious and

Aberdeenshire Council, working with the Met Office and SEPA, were keeping the situation constantly under review throughout the day and night.

“In the run up to the flooding, initially the river level was well below a level that would cause concern. However, suddenly the water level rose very rapidly jumping by a metre in around an hour. This type of situation is extremely difficult to forecast and none of the information we had available at that time indicated this would be the case. “During the event itself, monitoring continued throughout the night and the rest centre and transport were organised in time for any evacuation.”

Questions were asked about whether the most recent flood will speed up Aberdeenshire Council’s plans for flood alleviation in the town. Area manager Willie Munro said: “It seems to be a different incident (to 2009) but it is too soon to know the mechanics of the flood. It was a long period of rain and then an extremely heavy downpour and the water has nowhere to go.”

He said on average local authorities took around seven years to install flood defences from their inception but he hoped that time could be cut for Stonehaven. The council first started examining flood defences for the town in 2009.

“It’s particularly challenging because of the small catchment of the River Carron and will probably end up being a combination of upstream storage to catch flood water and some form of physical barrier along the Carron as it comes through Stonehaven,” he said adding that a scheme in Stonehaven was a “high priority” for the local authority.