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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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Three major flood alleviation projects in Inverness are currently being examined, Highland Councillors have been advised.

Consultants have been engaged to design schemes in the areas, which were particularly badly affected by the exceptional flooding experienced in and around the city in the early hours of Sunday 8 September, namely in South West Inverness (covering the Mill Burn/Allt na Skiah/Lochardil Burn and Holm Burn); Dell Burn, which affects the A 9 trunk road; and the Westhill, Culloden and Smithton catchment.

The South West Study is well advanced and the Council intends publishing a Flood Order early in the new year. The studies into the Dell Burn catchment and the Westhill, Smithton and Culloden area commenced following the 8th September flooding event and will be progressed to conclusion over the next 6-9 months and when a cost effective scheme is developed draft flood orders will be published.

The total estimated cost of these major works is in the order of 6-8 million.

At the same time, the Council is investigating the strengthening of Wick Harbour River Piers to protect more than 60 commercial properties and up to 20 homes .The cost is estimated at 2 million.

Also being examined are flood schemes at the River Endrick, Drumnadrochit; the River Spey, Kingussie; the Gynack Burn, Dalfaber Road, Aviemore and the River Shiel, Acharacle.

Progress on these schemes is contained in a report, which will be considered by the TEC Services Committee on Thursday 21 November.

The report also advises committee members that the bill for clearing up after the floods of early September in Inverness and surrounding area is estimated at 300,000. Of this sum, 142,000 will be paid to external contractors and for the hire of specialist equipment.

Structural damage to the bridge on Drummond Road, Inverness, is estimated to cost 40,000 to repair.

The report also clarifies the issue of filled sandbags to residents. An instruction has been issued to Council staff that filled sandbags are to be made available to the public on request. Where the elderly and housebound are affected, the sandbags will be delivered.

The report states that the flooding of 8 September was caused by exceptional rainfall, which had an estimated return period of 1 in 179 years at the Allanfearn rain gauge and an estimated 1 in 62 years return period for the whole of the Dell Burn catchment.

Following the flooding, the Council cleared debris from roads and blocked culverts; conducted detailed inspections of the areas affected by flooding; and carried out a programme of remedial works to clear culverts and watercourses and clean out gullies. This work is being carried out by Council staff; local contractors, in addition to two high pressure jetting machines which have been taken in to clean out drainage pipes. There has also been an increased level of maintenance on roadside ditches to improve roadside drainage.

There has also been an increased level of maintenance on roadside ditches to improve roadside drainage. The work is being carried out by Council staff; local contractors, two high pressure jetting machines and a gully emptier.

The report says the most urgent aspects of work have been completed.

Still to be assessed is the extent of subsidence and deformation of roads due to material wash out.

The report also reminds committee members that the Flood Prevention (Scotland) 1997 Act places a statutory duty on the Council to maintain watercourses within the Council area. This includes regular assessments and reports on watercourses that have a history of flooding. As part of this exercise, the Council is required to produce a Biennial Report, containing information on all watercourses with potential for flooding, which could impact on property. The Council has the discretionary power to carry out improvements to watercourses, which require a Flood Prevention Order.