We are committed to tackling flooding

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Aberdeenshire Council has emphasised it’s commitment to tackling the issue of flooding in Stonehaven.

This follows the most recent budget agreement and the decision to not include £2 million for flood alleviation.

The decision has caused some to claim that the council is not committed to tackling flood protection in Stonehaven, claims which have been strongly refuted by the local authority.

Councillor Peter Argyle, who chairs the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said that they were committed to working with communities and with a range of agencies to address flooding issues across all of Aberdeenshire.

Responding to suggestions that the absence of specific reference to flood protection in the council budget agreed on Thursday indicated a lack of commitment to dealing with the threat, Cllr Argyle added: “Aberdeenshire Council is most certainly not ignoring communities affected by recent flooding.

“It is simply wrong to conclude that a lack of specific references to Stonehaven in our budget announced last week means nothing is being done, or will be.

“The budget debate focused on the allocation of a small part, some 4%, of the council’s total expenditure. There was broad agreement on the use of these funds and no argument about the other budget lines which include revenue funds for flood protection work.

“Careful management of budgets puts Aberdeenshire Council in a strong position when it comes to resourcing flood protection across the whole council area. A great deal of work has been done, is being done and will be done to address this issue.”

Cllr Argyle also stressed the importance of ensuring that the right measures were put in place, following rigorous investigation and analysis of each incident.

“We are absolutely committed to developing long term, sustainable flood protection measures for areas vulnerable to flooding,’’ he added.

‘‘Such schemes are never simple; the issues are complex and it is vital that action taken in one location does not cause problems elsewhere upstream or downstream.

“It is also essential that all projects, designed and implemented at considerable cost, are effective. There would be justifiable anger were a scheme, costing perhaps several million pounds, fail to give protection owing to inadequate work at the planning stage or a lack of understanding of the causes and sources of the flooding it was designed to contain.

“The present flood schemes will be speeded up as far is practicable.

‘‘When we have all the facts and clear costed proposals from council officers these will be considered by councillors.

‘‘A report will be presented to the policy and resources committee for approval. But until we know the details and the costs it is not appropriate to pluck figures out of the air just for a PR stunt.”