North-east public to have say in fighting back against floods

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The public is to have a say over plans to stop a repeat of devastating floods that wrecked north-east communities.

Late last year, Aberdeenshire Council appointed Dougall Baillie Associates and JBA Consulting to carry out a flood scheme appraisal study for Inverurie, Port Elphinstone, Ellon and Insch.

Streets in Ellon were flooded after the River Ythan broke its banks

Over the past 12 months, the team has been looking into Inverurie and Port Elphinstone, with a particular focus on the flooding caused by Storm Frank in January 2016.

That notorious storm, which caused huge amounts of damage to homes and businesses across the region, also saw hundreds of people affected as homes were evacuated.

Inverurie, Port Elphinstone, Kemnay, Kintore, Premnay and Auchleven were all affected while the Ellon area saw record levels of water in the River Ythan.

The public consultations – due to be held in February – will examine the magnitude of that flooding and show how it is being presented in the findings.

The local authority will also be showing results of the data gathering that was carried out, including information such as the hydraulic modelling of watercourses and demonstrations of flood maps.

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Two public consultation events will be held, with the first on February 14, from 7pm until 9pm in the assembly hall at Inverurie Academy.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “This is an important stage in confirming our understanding of the nature of flooding in Inverurie.

“All information gathered during this meeting will be taken forward to the next stages of the study, which includes the identification of options and the appraisal of their feasibility, to manage flood risk in Inverurie.

“A second public consultation will be held to present the preferred option or options for flood protection, in summer 2019.”

Councillor Neil Baillie, who represents the Inverurie and district ward, has been involved with setting up the Garioch Resilience Group.

The scale of the flooding around the River Don in Inverurie following Storm Frank

He said that the public consultations are a step in the right direction for the community.

He said: “It’ll be a step forward from Storm Frank, but obviously we are still affected by what happened.

“I’ve been involved in setting up the Garioch Resilience Group and getting it off the ground in case any emergency situations in the community happen again.

“Work was carried out on the river, so it’ll be the next stage of that and the second consultation will look to put in place how to mitigate the situation in the future.

“When bad weather does come, a lot of people still remember back then and it’s still fearful for them.

“This survey is going to help towards that.”