Flood scheme has 19 options

Newton Stewart was badly flooded in December 2015
Newton Stewart was badly flooded in December 2015

A meeting on Monday evening in the McMillan Hall gave community leaders in Newton Stewart a clearer idea of the process involved in creating a robust flood defence for the town in the future.

A representative from from civil engineering firm SWECO, gave members of Cree Valley Community Council and representatives of other organisations, a presentation which listed 19 current option for flood defence. These options will be whittled down next week to three of four that are workable and cost effective.

Involved in that process will be the CVCC, the Cree Valley Flood Action Group, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Forestry Commission and other interested parties.

Looking at a map, the engineer said the catchment area of the Cree was “very large” at 370 kilometres square. In peak flood condition this translated into 484 cubic metres of water flowing downstream per second. In a one in 200 year storm, he explained, as in December 2015, that is a swimming pool going past your front door every second.

Among the 19 options as a starting point for the consultation, were a dam upstream, either a large obstruction of smaller ones situated further downstream; direct defences - this includes building walls and barriers tied in with landscaping, including raised walkways and walls with reinforces glass so views of the river were not compromised.

The embankment either side of the A75 could be removed to stop in acting as a barrier to water flow; the footpath could be removed or diversion channels created beneath the A75.

Another options were removing all the weirs on the river; modify the river channel by reconnecting the Penkiln Burn. The land itself could be re-profiled by lowering the area downstream to create a wetland area at Broomisle. Deforestation was also to be investigated. The final scheme could be at least three years away and cost benefits had to be factored in. The timescale is also dependent on no hold ups such as a public inquiry.