Cut­ting flood risk in vil­lage will cost £5m

Coun­cil picks higher level scheme

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

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?

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