Flood study work to be carried out in Ballater
Improvements could be carried out in a Deeside village in a bid to prevent further “significant” damage from flooding.
Members of the Marr Area Committee considered the flood risk to Ballater and options for additional study work in the village on Tuesday last week (November 23).
The council’s Flood Risk Team had recommended taking a staged approach to consider the flood risk and determine if it is worse than it was before February of this year when Ballater was faced with a “near miss” event following heavy snowmelt.
If the study finds the risk has increased a “new and full” study would be carried out to find the best options to prevent future flooding including bund works and removing dead trees.
The decision to start a new study came following discussions with local groups including the Ballater and Crathie Community Council Flood Issues Group, Resilience Group and Ballater Golf Club.
Members had raised concerns about the potential increased flood risk in the village and discussed some steps that could be taken to improve protection.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting Ballater and Crathie Community Council secretary Richard Frimston said the group was in favour of the staged approach.
Mr Frimston said: “Ballater was so deeply damaged and traumatised by Storm Frank in 2015.
“Our research has shown that clearly it was the breach in the village bund that was the cause of the very fast flowing flooding through the lower village that was the major threat to life.”
Mr Frimston said the village was “grateful” for flood prevention works that had been carried out in 2016.
He explained: “A lot of residents had a sleepless night.
"It was very traumatic again and we believe the Aberdeenshire Council repair may well have saved the village from significant damage.”
However, he noted that a further 100m of bund has been washed away and the course of the River Dee has changed “dramatically”.
He added: “The community feels very exposed by that and feels at real risk from low level flooding”.
Councillor Peter Argyle gave his support to the flood study and said this was a “very serious issue” for Ballater.
He said: “Everyone is aware of what happened with Storm Frank, the impact of that on the community has not gone away and there’s a real sense of vulnerability.”
He noted that the proposed works would deal with smaller, more frequent incidents that “cause great deal of concern” in the community.
Following unanimous support from the committee the flood study work will be carried out immediately and may take up to eight months to complete.
Aberdeenshire Council is currently waiting to find out if it will receive Scottish Government funding to carry out previously approved Flood Protection Scheme works at Ballater.
The preferred option for the village was submitted for consideration back in December 2019 and would protect Ballater from another event similar to Storm Frank.
In December 2015 hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate their homes due to severe flooding and power outage caused by the storm.