Cutting flood risk in village will cost £5m
Council picks higher level scheme
Councillors have opted for a £5 million flood mitigation scheme as the preferred way to protect Aberfoyle area.
Stirling Council’s environment and housing committee heard last Thursday that the option - whilst the most expensive - was best placed to protect a significant area of Aberfoyle and its homes and businesses.
A lower level scheme, which would have cost the council £1.4 million, was agreed in June 2014.
However, there was concern from the community that the measures would offer only limited protection.
Council officers, who sought the advice of expert consultants, have more recently concluded that the community would be “better served” by a more intensive scheme.
They told the committee: “This higher standard of protection would provide the greater value for money with a much more favourable costbenefit ratio. The new proposal will cost approximately £5 million.
“By implementing the lower standard of protection the risk to the community of flooding still remained and greater damages could be expected during periods that exceed the low level of defence (one in five years). This risk is greatly reduced by considering a greater extent of the defences and the increase in standard protection.”
Officials said the £1.4 million scheme would have protected only five commercial properties and did not have a high enough cost-benefit ratio to be funded through Scottish Government funding. It also would not have fully defended against the flooding experienced by the village in December, 2015.
Two landowners had since come forward to offer the use of their land to mitigate against flooding and this has been included in the latest proposals, which also provide a safer route to and from the primary school.
The officials added: “The higher level option received more support from the community - but it comes down to the cost.”
Councillor Mark Ruskell asked why the chosen approach had been taken rather than individual property protection measures, and if there was still scope to “get more movement” from landlords to complement what the council was doing.
Officials said: “It was to give the added value to the Main Street area which really suffers from flooding, impacts on the local primary school and affects access to the community.
“There have been flood protection grants given out to premises but this option provides greater benefit to the wider community. The real benefit for this particular proposal is it will reduce the significance of flooding in the main populated area of Aberfoyle.
“There is an opportunity to engage with landowners. The flooding co-ordinator and consultants are undertaking to build that in.”
Trossachs and Teith councillor Martin Earl said: “I’m very pleased to see this report. I know there’s been a huge amount of work done by officers. I’m not a great fan of consultants but they have their time and place and this is a very good, extensive piece of work.
“Protecting an area is not just about businesses and residents but the real prospect of flooding in Aberfoyle is of wider interest, for example to people thinking of investing in this area. It’s something we need to alleviate.
“My concern at the moment is – where are we going to get the £5 million? I’m interested to know whether, as part of this option, we will explore all options with the UK and Scottish Governments to make sure we look at all other possible external ways to get the money we need.”
Officers said: “Significant funding is required. To try to achieve that amount requires external as well as internal funding and there is a proposal to explore all options.”
My concern at the moment is where are we going to get £5m?