Flood options to be discussed by council

The Sparling bridge was swamped
The Sparling bridge was swamped

Newton Stewart’s flood protection options will be discussed by Dumfries and Galloway Council next week at a meeting of the economy, environment and infrastructure committee.

Following a study investigating the various solutions available to combat flooding both on the River Cree and Penkiln Burn, it was found that upstream storage as a flood risk management option wasn’t feasible and the removal of the gravel island would have very little benefit. However, the study recommended two actions - the construction of walls and raising Sparling footbridge which could cost in the region of £3.4 million and would require financial aid from the Scottish Government.

In the meantime, councillors will be asked to agree on spending £20,000 for these investigations and to consider lower-cost, early intervention measures. Furthermore, an additional £10,000 is being sought to install equipment to support SEPA in developing a flood warning system similar to that operated on the Whitesands, Dumfries, offering a three-hour flood warning.

Another option being considered by councillors is the development of a mini flood pod which would be based in Newton Stewart. This mobile version of the larger flood pod has much of the equipment, but it is on a trailer and can be deployed at various locations more easily. The pod carries equipment such as barriers, absorbent sandbags etc. that can used to protect property.

Councillor Colin Smyth, Chair of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said: “I believe it’s vital that we do all we possibly can to mitigate flooding in the region and that’s why I want to see measures agreed for Newton Stewart. It could take significant money to build defensive walls to create a full flood prevention scheme for the town and that will be subject to securing Scottish Government funding. However, in the short term an early warning system and flood pod could prove invaluable. If agreement is given to a flood warning scheme, locals who sign up will receive texts and emails alerting them to predicted flooding. This has proved beneficial in other parts of Dumfries and Galloway.”

The flood line alert service can be found at http://floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup