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Caithness News Bulletins November 2006

November 2006 October 2006

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Convener Seeks Executive Help with Council Flood Bill
The Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Alison Magee, has written to First Minister, Jack McConnell, seeking help from the Scottish Executive in meeting the bill for the recent flood damage in the Highlands.

Councillor Magee said initial estimates suggest the Council will need to find in excess of 4 million capital funding simply to reinstate the damaged roads infrastructure. Substantially more would be required if the Council was to make preventative improvements. The Council was also anticipating additional costs of approximately 500,000 associated with damage to property.

She first raised the issue with the First Minister at the Highlands and Islands Convention on Monday 30 October at Forres.

In her letter, she stressed the Council was still in the process of completing a full and detailed assessment of the damage and the costs involved.

She wrote: "As you will know from our discussion, serious problems were experienced in Ross-shire, Sutherland and Caithness with numerous homes flooded, whole sections of road and bridges washed away, several landslides and extensive damage to culverts and erosion of the road edge. Initial costings suggest we will need to find in excess of 4million capital funding simply to reinstate the damaged roads infrastructure.

"I thought it was important to get an initial breakdown of the costings to you as soon as possible, as I promised I would. I would like to take this opportunity to urge you in the strongest possible terms to agree to award an emergency payment to The Highland Council to carry out these urgent repairs."

Meanwhile, the Council is holding a public meeting in Dingwall on Monday night to discuss the flooding events that took place in Ross and Cromarty between 23 - 26 October. It will be held at Dingwall Academy, starting at 7.30 pm.

Councillor Carolyn Wilson, Chairman of the Ross and Cromarty Area Committee, said: "We have called this meeting in recognition of the exceptional nature of the flooding which affected many communities in Ross and Cromarty. We appreciate the significant disruption experienced by many people and their desire for measures to be introduced to reduce the chances of this kind of traumatic experience being repeated. We will set out the various causes of flooding and discuss the requirement to carry out flood studies."

A report to be considered by the TEC Services Committee on Thursday (16 November) states that there was heavy rainfall in East Ross, the Black Isle and Wick on Monday/Tuesday 23/24 October. In Easter Ross and the Black Isle a number of roads were affected by flooding and landslides. Newhall and Cullicudden Primary schools were both closed due to the flooding of surrounding roads. Properties in Evanton were affected by surface water running off the surrounding hills, and there was localised flooding in Dingwall.

On Thursday 26 October, heavy continuous rainfall caused significant flooding, starting in the early hours of Thursday 26 October. The east coast of the Highlands, from Dingwall to Thurso, was the worst affected area.

A number of these areas had already experienced a significant level of flooding on 23/24 October, and much of the ground was already saturated.

Dingwall suffered the most concentrated flooding, and a number of properties were affected. The Boggan/Knockbain burn is carried through Dingwall in a culvert, and discharges into the River Peffery. The culvert entry structure, and the culvert, was inundated, and the overtopping waters caused damage to properties. Council and Emergency services responded to the flooding, and the subsequent clean-up operations.

Flooding in Evanton was caused by surface water running off the surrounding hillside, leading to flooding in the High Street. The road drainage system could not cope with the volume of water, and this resulted in a build up of surface water on the road, resulting in the flooding of properties. The Rivers Sgitheach and Glass were running close to capacity, and suffered erosion damage.

In addition to the main urban areas, high levels of surface run off resulted in the flooding of a number of properties throughout the area affected by this storm.

The flooding event on 26 October resulted in widespread damage to the road infrastructure, including damage to bridges; damage to culverts; erosion of the road edge and landslides

High winds followed the flooding, and a significant number of trees were blown down which blocked roads.