Think outside the box to stop flooding

Blocked: The outlet at Brechin Bridgeis pictured covered in debris.
Blocked: The outlet at Brechin Bridgeis pictured covered in debris.

A RESIDENT of Brechin’s Nursery Lane has hit out at Angus Council for not clearing an outlet pipe at Brechin Bridge on River Street which he claims has been blocked since the River South Esk burst its banks in December.

George Garden has made a call for remedial work to be carried out on the outlet pipe, claiming the main drain down the middle of the River Street is not working correctly.

River South Esk burst its banks on October 12, 2012, and then again on December 23, 2012.

In October, only a month after Angus Council decided to withdraw plans for the removal of the gravel bank at River Street, following objections by SEPA and Scottish Natural Heritage, the River South Esk flooded.

Then, after days of heavy rain in December, the River South Esk burst its banks once again leaving much of River Street underwater.

During the worst of the flooding on Sunday, December 23, Angus Council set up a rest centre at Brechin High School for all affected residents.

Commenting on December’s floods Mr Garden said: “Angus Council did try to put down sandbags this time, before the flood. They turned up on Friday, December 21, with sandbags and floodgates. When I saw this I, and some of the residents of River Street, thought that Angus Council had at last got their act together. But alas we were wrong.

“It was the same scenario - sand bags were put halfway down River Street on the railing side.

“The river rose and knocked over the sandbags and flooded the street exactly like it did the last time.

“Have the council engineers, and I use the term engineer loosely, not learned anything from the last time?

“Why did they not bother to have a look or ask people what went wrong?

“The sandbags seemed to have been put down in a random way with no rhyme or reason.

“Also there seems to be a shortage of them, not nearly enough.

“It was left to the fire service to try and stop the houses from getting flooded.

“The roads department were nowhere to be seen again.

“Did the fire department get briefed by the council where the most likely places to flood were? Did they get left spare sand bags? No.

“I must say well done to the firemen, police and 4x4 volunteers who did a great job.”

Prevention of flooding at the river should not, it is claimed, be left to the placement of sandbags.

“I think its about time that the engineers started to think outside the box and do some remedial work because throwing down sandbags haphazardly is definitely not going to work,” he continued.

“Yes they did clean out the culvert along River Street and it did stop the flooding at the bottom of Witch Den but the main drain down the middle of the road does not seem to be working properly as the outlet at Brechin Bridge is silted up.

“There has been no action from the roads department since the last flood to beef up the sandbags or to put the ones that have moved back in place.

“All we have had is the road swept twice.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “During the flooding in River Street, Brechin in October and December, the area of the outfall pipe off East Mill Road downstream of Brechin Bridge was inundated with flood water from the River South Esk and some silt and debris deposited in front of the outfall pipe.

“The silt and debris will be removed, however, the road drainage gullies and manholes along River Street that drain to this outfall pipe are all fitted with silt traps to reduce the risk of blockages.

“CCTV inspections show no major blockages in the road drain.

“Sandbags are distributed according to requirements in each location and where there is a danger of flooding to properties, but we do not lay out sandbags where only gardens are likely to be flooded.”

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of a flood prevention scheme, with full height flood defences, along the north bank of the River South Esk and the council are now in the process of bidding for funding for the scheme from the Scottish Government.

If funding is granted the scheme construction works could begin in April 2014 with construction works being completed in March 2015.

For more information about the funding for the scheme turn to page 3.