Letters to the Editor

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Madam - Yet again Stonehaven is on flood alert - not only from the possibility of river flooding but of over-topping from high seas. These events can no longer be classified as ‘unprecedented’ or ‘exceptional’. How can these words be used on what is now annual occurrences?

Since 2009 Stonehaven is no safer from the effects of flood than seven years ago. The new Arbuthnott drain outlet was choked with shingle therefore I would guess useless and as this is to safeguard the High Street I would imagine the water would have been returned to whence it came and in fact flooded the High Street.

The rock armour and high seas were preventing a very high river Carron from escaping - same result - the river water gets pushed back, becomes higher and floods the river properties and beyond.

The council did put barriers at the White Bridge but alas failed to ensure they were tight to the end of the bridge next the river and if the river had come up to the bank edge the water would have rushed through again flooding properties.

The banks of the Carron on the south side are no so eroded that I would think they are in imminent danger of failing into the Carron making a bad situation even worse.

Why spend money, time and effort on preventative measures if they are not going to work?

The recent flooding in Cumbria and York and surrounds have highlighted the dangers of relying for flood prevention on mechanical devices. Also walls have proved in many instances ineffective.

However the little village of Pickering stayed dry! No distance from York the villagers had rejected new tangled flood defences and in place had used natures own methods of keeping water at bay. And it worked - Pickering remained dry.

Aberdeenshire Council - while you fiddle as we flood perhaps you should look at Pickering’s model. For those of you who are curious as to this low cost but effective method of flood prevention - it was done for a mere 2 million hhtp:/www.independent.co.ukinewsluk/home-newsiuk-flooding-how-a-yorkshire-flood-Nackspot-worked-with-nature-to stay-dry-a6749386.

This village had been repeatedly flooded until the inhabitants of the village took control of what they felt was needed.

Again Aberdeenshire Council maybe worth a look and listen!

I have singularly failed to understand why a very proven contributory factor to flooding in this town is still allowed by Aberdeenshire Council while they at the same time look at a multi-million flood scheme. 1 refer to housing development.

Water runs off concrete like water off a duck’s back yet more and more houses are going up in upper Stonehaven while below the town floods. Councillors people are getting weary of the stress of constant flood alerts - time to nail colours to the mast and speak up for the people who elected you and the people or Stonehaven generally.

You are our representatives and we need your support. Water that falls on high ground has to come down. Measures need to be put place far above the town. Holding areas for water which can be released slowly, reafforestation, less grazing in areas where the ground becomes like concrete where animals graze allowing it to run off quickly and in volume.

Ditches and burns to contain water retaining methods to help slow water. These measures work, this has been proven in the Past and in the case of Pickering the present. The measures are effective and very immediate what this town needs after seven years and several river and coastal floods.

The present flood scheme is over dependent on mechanism that should one fail the whole will fail. This scheme is also a long way off and concentrates on one river. This is isolating the problem and not addressing the wider issue of where the water conies from and how it can be contained or slowed before it hits the town. As previously state - people are battle weary over this and look for more immediate preventative measures - and importantly measures that work. Seven years of stress every time it rains is demoralising and harmful to mental and physical health.

The stress has been equated with that of the stress of battle and indeed that is what this is — a battle against potential flooding and a battle with the council to help protect the people within its boundaries. Time to stop fiddling.

Frieda Burns

Madam - Thank you so very much to our friends who messaged me or posted on facebook their conceners for us all “downtown” and their generous offers of help which tankfully we did not require. Also would like to thank Stephen Jackson and Craig Irvine for keeping us all up to date with what they saw through social media. It was very much appreciated I can tell you - thanks guys.

And last but not least the volunteer flood wardens who were out most of the night looking over us - you were stars that shone on a very dark night. Thank you so much. Something has to be done regarding the run off of water from road at the bottom of Braehead - drains maybe - I don’t know - but the water was “spewing” down the road into Dunnottar Ave. from that area which was not helping the situation!!

Thank you all so much from appreciative “downtown” residents! Our hearts go out to all other communities so severly affected by this strange weather.

Val Davies

Madam - I am involved with both the Stonehaven Flood Action Group and am one of the Flood Wardens who was out Boxing Day and Thursday the 7th of January 2016. I witnessed the near flooding of part of Stonehaven by the River Carron and the Glasslaw Burn due to the exceptional amounts of rain that we have had recently. We were EXTREMELY lucky on the dates above to avoid over topping of the river banks. I have also been watching the news on STV and BBC showing the extensive flooding damage in Yorkshire, Cumbria The Borders, Angus and Aberdeenshire. I observed frequent comments on the news by residents and officials that “The rivers involved have never risen in the past to the level experienced this time.”

There may be aspects of the proposed flood scheme for Stonehaven which some people think require modification before it can be implemented. In particular I would like to highlight two aspects contained in the ELEVEN objections to the proposed scheme namely that the presence rock armour bund at the mouth of the River Carron is slowing the escape of the river to the sea and therefore increasing the wall heights between the road bridge and the White Bridge.

The argument that extreme High tides and severe coastal storms in the past before the rock armour bund was there had no major affect no effect on slowing the Carron river discharge seem to me to be in the same category as the statements about “It never happened in the past” I am sure that this view may well be correct but bear in mind that the proposed design also takes into account climate change, rising sea levels and extreme sea and river storms happening concurrently and the non removal of the bund. Is it really worth the risk of delaying the scheme by say 2 years because of the 11 objections. I would bet that the people of Inverurie, Ellon, Ballater, Braemar etc must think we are NUTS in delaying the scheme. I am given to understand that various models have been analysed for the effects of creating various sizes of openings in the bund but I have also been told that the scenarios considered have only a minor affect in reducing the wall heights. Lets get the rock armour situation rationalised PRONTO.

I am of the belief that some of the objections can be mitigated but would seriously ask the objectors to reconsider their objections bearing in mind recent events and in my mind the possibility that if the scheme is delayed (It will only take one objection) the money may well go elsewhere.

George Strang