Swamped by red tape

In the wake of two serious flooding incidents in 13 months, the chairman of the Cree Valley Flood Action Group has resigned in frustration.

Bob Boan quit at this week’s meeting of the group after hearing council 
officers warn it could be years before a flood defence scheme is operational in Newton Stewart.

The Flood Action Group was set up after the floods of November 2012 and this week the members of the flood group were joined by council officers and elected members and residents whose properties were flooded to hear the much anticipated results of a feasibility study for the management of flood risk in the town.

The meeting in the McMillan Hall heard the study was carried out by Kaya Consulting Limited on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council.

As the idea of a £30 million dam north of Penninghame is financially out of the question, according to the author of the survey. The next best options available are to increase the height of the walls and embankments bordering the river and raise the Sparling Bridge, with costs estimated between £3.5 and £7.5 million.

But, because it needed to see the results of survey first, the council can only now start work on the plans for the town’s flood defences.

Those plans then have to be given the green light for a funding request from the council’s own policy and resources committee. After that, the council goes cap in hand to the Scottish government for capital funding to implement the scheme.

But at the seat of government, the council will have to fight its corner against other applications for funding from similar schemes all over Scotland.

The detailed flood risk assessment presentation was given by mathematical modelling expert and civil engineer Dr Yusef Kaya. His staff had carried out a comprehensive survey of the River Cree, including a hydro­logical analysis, a topographical and visual inspection of the walls, and creating a mathematical model of the river and the flood plain.

Dr Kaya proposed five options to control the flow of water: upstream flood storage (a dam), direct defence (walls and embankments), raising the footbridge, removal of island 
below the Cree Bridge or increasing the number of culverts under the A75 bridge.

The survey showed the last two made little difference to the water levels. The engineering expert said rasing the Sparling Bridge would increase the capacity of flow, 
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