Gully Concerns

By Jane Cruickshank / September 7, 2022
drain grill with flood-carried leaves etc

YESTERDAY and today’s flash flooding in Stonehaven has raised concerns about the impacts of heavy rain on the town.

While many residents voiced concerns on social media about gully clearance, Aberdeenshire Council defended their maintenance regime.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “Yesterday’s heavy rain caused challenges across Aberdeenshire, particularly in Stonehaven.

“We are aware of local concerns over gully clearance, and we can assure residents and businesses that we routinely carry out this work across Aberdeenshire.

“However, due to this sort of flash flooding and the high volume of water falling over a reasonably short period, drainage systems become overwhelmed, although we did see water levels dissipate quite quickly after the initial downpour.

“As always, we will continue to monitor conditions across the area and take action as appropriate.”

Councillors looking for action

Cllr Wendy Agnew said she witnessed first hand the flooding of the lower areas of Stonehaven yesterday (Tuesday September 6).

She said: ”For some years now the residents have been very patient in waiting for the Carron flood defences to be completed. Completion now expected in 2023.  However the cause of the latest flooding was an apparent lack of capacity of the drainage system on Cameron Street  and Barclay Street.

”Also, the Arbuthnott drain in the High Street  did not operate as it should have and it is my understanding that the outlet at the River Carron was blocked with silt and shingle.   A resident did manage to clear most of the blockage and some minutes later  it appeared to be working although not to its full capacity.  So heavy was the deluge that other areas of the town were also under flood water.

Mrs Agnew added: ”I have asked that the drainage problem in Stonehaven be added to the agenda for the Ward 18 meeting next week in order that questions  can  be asked, answered given and  the people informed . It is not acceptable that the people who live in the lower areas of Stonehaven have to experience this problem again and again. 

”The  anger of the people is  understood and the problem must be resolved.”

Meanwhile Cllr Dawn Black said Stonehaven’s aging infrastructure contributes to the problem.

She said: ”I am saddened to see Stonehaven hit yet again by flash flooding. This is occurring not only in the town centre and the old town but also in the residential areas in the relatively newer parts of town. I am working to find out exactly what is causing this.

”Alongside the drains being cleared more regularly I recognise that the aging drainage system is no longer fit for purpose. The pipe work in some areas is Victorian and is simply not designed to cope with the sheer volume of water that we are now experiencing during these deluges.

”This situation is only going to get worse and I will be putting pressure on the council to address the need to upgrade our aging infrastructure to cope with the surface water that is becoming common place.” 

Information, advice and a full report

The Aberdeenshire Council website carries information about drains and gullies – including how to report one that is blocked.

There is also advice about flooding and how/why it happens – and for those who would like to protect their property, there are some preventative measures and products listed.

Aberdeenshire Council’s full report on Stonehaven as a potentially vulnerable area also makes for an interesting read.