Engineer appointed to oversee flood alleviation schemes

An engineer has been appointed to develop and implement major schemes to alleviate flooding in Aberdeenshire.

Rachel Kennedy will work with communities that have been and continue to be affected by flooding to help them achieve improved resilience, initially focussing on Stonehaven and Huntly.

The council is currently in the process of developing major schemes in both towns, but expects to bring others forward to address problems at other sites as it works through the development of Local Flood Risk Management Plans.

Given the nature of flooding events, the mechanisms at work are complex and require detailed analysis before a scheme can be recommended.

It is essential the widest possible impacts of any scheme are considered, particularly to guard against unintended consequences in another area.

In addition to this the statutory process to promote a Flood Protection Scheme Order is relatively complex and includes a number of consultation and appeal mechanisms.

Given the work involved in the promotion of such schemes, Rachel has been appointed to the new post of principal engineer (flood protection major works) from March 18.

Rachel, 38, was a principal engineer within the council’s Transportation section, working on policy development.

She has a wide and varied experience base, having worked previously in the public and private sectors, with experience of project management.

Rachel is currently President of the Aberdeen Association of Civil Engineers, the first female president in their 112 year history, developing the schools programme and promoting the role of a civil engineer in society.

Rachel said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with communities to build on the positive work already achieved. “Through effective project management we will ensure that a package of both long and short term measures will be identified and implemented as soon as practicable.”

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), Peter Argyle, said: “I am sure that Rachel will be a valuable addition to the Projects Team, and will help us to deliver Flood Protection Schemes that bring substantial benefits to those affected directly by flooding, and to Aberdeenshire as a whole.”

The new role is in addition to the structures the council already has in place to address flooding issues.

Councillor Peter Bellarby has welcomed the appointment.

He said: “I am very pleased that this appointment has been made and that it has been made so quickly. It shows that Aberdeenshire Council really is determined to make progress with the major flood alleviation scheme for Stonehaven as well as those for other places in Aberdeenshire. Those affected by the flooding in Stonehaven in December last year had a dreadful experience. We need to make progress as quickly as we can so that they don’t have that experience again.”