Cash boost for flood protection

Ballater was left devastated by the impact of Storm Frank
Ballater was left devastated by the impact of Storm Frank

Millions of pounds are to be ploughed into flood protection in Aberdeenshire.

Parts of the region were devastated by Storm Frank at the end of last year, leaving homes and businesses swamped.

The Scottish Government this week announced £420 million will be spent across Scotland over the next ten years to deliver 40 new flood protection projects and support local flood risk management plans. It follows an agreement with local authority umbrella group Cosla.

Aberdeenshire will get more than £7 million this year, the highest of any authority.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announcing the funding, said: “This agreement will give local authorities the certainty they need to deliver the actions set out in their Local Flood Risk Management Plans to help protect individuals, business and communities from the danger of flooding.”

Many areas of Deeside - Ballater in particular - and the Garioch were left counting the high cost of the flooding caused by Storm Frank.

Inverurie Councillor Bryan Stuart, chair of the local flood plan working group, welcomed the funding.

He told the Piper: “It’s really good news. It is not going to happen overnight, but folk can be comfortable in the knowledge that it will happen.

“There is a huge amount of research and design work to be done but we are well placed with our plans for projects in Aberdeenshire. We know that the money will be there.”

The announcement was also welcomed by Deeside politicians.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor Peter Argyle said: “The need for effective flood defences for Ballater is clearly in the front of everyone’s mind on Deeside and this funding should also be used to take projects forward on the Dee.

“I know a great deal of work has been done already but there is much more to do. There must be a proper understanding of the river and the defence works that will be effective in protecting Ballater, which will not have a negative impact on communities further downstream.

“This will take time but the work is underway and the funding announced this week will greatly assist the process.”

Fellow Councillor Geva Blackett said: “This funding is really welcome as many people in Ballater are very concerned what impact climate change will have in the future - hopefully some of the £7million will come this way.”