Warning of flood threat for Kemnay

It's been claimed North-east communities are "living in fear" of a Storm Frank repeat
It's been claimed North-east communities are "living in fear" of a Storm Frank repeat

The Scottish Government has been warned that urgent action is needed to protect Kemnay from a repeat of Storm Frank.

An MSP fears the village could suffer the fate of Ballater which was devastated by flooding nearly two years ago.

Flood warning - Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett

Flood warning - Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett

Parts of Kemnay were hit by severe floods early in January last year.

And a local action group has also voiced concern about the situation.

Aberdeenshire West Tory Alexander Burnett told a recent Holyrood debate that the community faces immediate flooding danger – but relief cash to build defences depends on a review of Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVA).

The next round, which would grant the Donside community that status, does not take place until 2019.

Mr Burnett warned that communities in the North-east are “living in fear” of a repeat of Storm Frank, and cannot wait that long.

He said: “A permanent flood defence system cannot be constructed until Aberdeenshire Council commissions an extensive flood risk assessment from SEPA.

“But Aberdeenshire Council say this will not happen until Kemnay is designated a PVA.”

Mr Burnett called for an earlier national review to potentially save “neglected” communities.

Ken Ledingham, chairman of Kemnay’s Kembhill Park Flood Group, told the Herald: “We are very concerned about the possibility of further flooding but there would appear to be nothing we can do to get the Scottish Parliament to change the legislation.

“There seems to be no provision for an area which has been flooded to be added to that list.

“We are working closely with the council to try to get a temporary solution to the situation until a permanent barrier can be built for us.

“At the moment that looks unlikely until 2022 at the earliest, given the council’s priorities elsewhere in Aberdeenshire.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Flood defences are kept under constant review, particularly after major incidents. “Communities like Kemnay that have been flooded will be considered as part of the new evidence feeding into the second National Flood Risk Assessment, currently underway.

“We take the issue of flooding very seriously, which is why we have made £42 million available every year since 2008 to enable local authorities to invest in flood protection schemes. We have also guaranteed that, for the next 10 years, the grants available for this purpose will be a minimum of £42 million per annum.”