£14m flood protection plans for North-east town takes step forward

A £14 million flood protection scheme for a North-east town has moved a step closer to becoming reality.

A Scottish Government Reporter recommended Aberdeenshire Council’s plans to defend Stonehaven should progress following a public hearing in March to consider objections to the scheme.

Following a consultation, 12 objections were received – four were resolved through negotiation but the others remained outstanding.

The local authority’s principal engineer Rachel Kennedy said: “We are obviously pleased with the outcome of the public hearing, because the Reporter’s recommendation allows us to progress this scheme if the infrastructure services committee gives the go-ahead in June.

“It was clearly important that objections to the scheme were properly investigated and weighed up against the benefits to the wider community and the extensive work we have done to this point means we should be able to move towards delivery of the flood protection scheme on the ground with minimal delay.”

The local authority had backed the plans in January 2016, with officers stating that concerns were outweighed by the benefits to the wider community and the council’s policy and resources committee approving funding for the scheme at an estimated value of £14m to £16m in September 2014.

The scheme is designed to provide a 0.5% chance of flooding and includes an allowance for climate change and other uncertainties and reducing flood risk to 372 residential properties, two public utility sites, a school and an emergency service site.

Scottish Government Reporter Martin Seddon said he had taken all the matters raised by the objectors into account, but none provided sufficient grounds for modifying or refusing to confirm the plan.

The scheme will go back before councillors next month.