Call for urgent flood funds

Hundreds of homes in Ballater were affected by the floods
Hundreds of homes in Ballater were affected by the floods

A North-east MSP has called on Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government to commit urgent funding for new flood defences in Ballater.

Aberdeenshire West Conservative Alexander Burnett has contended that the Deeside community, which was badly hit last year, must be prioritised in order to prevent further breaches this winter.

More than 340 homes were affected in Ballater, which lies within Mr Burnett’s constituency, during last December’s floods.

The economic impact has been an estimated £60million loss in business income, £28million in domestic insurance claims and a drop in property values of between 20-30%.

The area was by far the worst hit among the Aberdeenshire communities during the flooding, with 226 houses flooded per 1,000 population compared to six in Ellon, where investment in flood prevention has been committed.

Mr Burnett said: “The impact of last December’s flooding was devastating for many areas across the North-east, but Ballater was particularly badly hit.

“There is genuine concern locally that the present system of flood defences is totally inadequate to cope with any further deluge this coming winter.

“The local economy may not withstand another major bout of flooding, with many businesses and property owners still counting the cost from last year.”

He added: “I welcome the fact that Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government have invested significantly in compensation payments and infrastructure repairs across the region.

“The council has also committed to a flood prevention study for Ballater, but that has not started yet and my understanding is that a permanent solution may be several years away.

“We need to see more urgent action, and fast.”