The much anticipated flood defence scheme for the town of Newton Stewart should be in the public domain by November this year.
At next week’s meeting of the council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, elected members will study 10 options, narrowed down from 24, to save the town from another catastrophic flooding event, similar to December 2015.
The options on the table are: Upstream storage at Linloskin Bridge; obstructions on the River Cree; construction of direct defences; increase the flow area beneath the A75 By-Pass bridge; increase the size and/or the number of flood relief culverts; reprofile land at Broomisle; reinstate flood storage area at Water of Minnoch; create upstream storage at The Ghyll and/or the River Cree tributaries and finally, reprofile land around the pumping station.
Some of the options thrown out by Dumfries and Galloway Council and consultants SWECO included dredging the river as the council report states, doing so would have a “minimal impact” on flood levels and would then have to be carried out at regular intervals afterwards.
There was also concern that dredging could have a negative effect on structures like the Cree Bridge. Removing sediment was also disregarded, as was removing Mill Island and the gravel island or ‘berm’ south of the Cree Bridge, again due to the predicted low impact on flood levels. The option to remove the embankment at the By-Pass Bridge was also discounted because of the high complexity and high cost of doing this and the disruption the work would cause.
As the town was identified as a flood risk in 2011, 80 per cent of the scheme’s costs will be met by the Scottish Government and the remaining 20 per cent by the council’s capital budget.
The preferred option or combination of options will be agreed by November when the general public will consulted over the proposals.