Gravel removal go-ahead to reduce flooding risk

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ANGUS Councillors have agreed a report recommending a £125,000 programme of work to alleviate flooding in Brechin.

Members of the strategic policy committee voted by nine votes to six in favour of measures to remove a gravel bank from opposite River Street, in order to increase the flow of the South Esk and reduce the risk of flooding.

Although the river has not burst its banks for over 17 years residents have, for some time now, been raising fears about the possibility of damage to their homes.

The river is classed as a special area of conservation due to the presence of freshwater mussels and the Wildlife and Countryside Act ensures a wide range of plants, animals and birds are protected.

Funding for the removal work will come from the roads budget, with the work not expected to start before June of next year.

Strategic policy committee convener Bob Myles said the measures being taken were aimed at stopping the river swelling around River Street and creating a faster flow through the bridge.

“From speaking to locals I know there is considerable concern and a need for at least some form of interim measures to be put in place.

“We have spent more than 20 years discussing the matter, listening to presentations and reading reports and not one item of practical work has taken place

“The work can be carried out with minimal disruption to the environment and I really don’t want to spend another 20 years without doing anything.”

The head of roads has applied for the various licences required for the work and will now be instructed to secure the specialist consultancy contracts.

Brechin councillor Maira Evans felt the action was only a short-term move and called for a more permanent solution to the problem.

“A figure of £125,000 is a substantial cost to offer people protection from what is a one-in-17 years event,” she said.

“The focus should be on the main flood prevention scheme and I will be interested to see when that is moved forward.”

A report on capital funding options for the main flood alleviation scheme will be brought back to the infrastructure services committee after the summer.