Huntly Flood Protection Scheme officially opened

A flood protection scheme for the town of Huntly was officially opened today (Wed, Aug 16), marking the end of years of effort to provide more security for local residents and businesses.

Physical measures are now in place to help reduce the risk posed by flooding to the Meadows area of the town and the A920 Huntly to Dufftown Road.

Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd won the tender to deliver the £3.5million scheme, which has taken around 10 months to complete since starting in October 2016.

The work includes new embankments both in the Meadows area and adjacent to the A920 at the Ittingstone Burn, new culverts, piling, various utility diversions, property reinstatement and the creation of a new walkway along some of the embankments.

It has been a complicated process to get to this point, including a Public Hearing held in Huntly to consider outstanding objections to the scheme from landowners.

Design work has been progressing on the project since April 2011.

The Council has proceeded under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 as it was not possible to secure the land needed by agreement.

Under section 79 of this Act, once a scheme is confirmed the Council has the power to enter onto land to carry out works.

The official opening was carried out by Aberdeenshire Council’s Deputy Provost, Ron McKail. Speaking at the official opening of the scheme at Huntly’s Nordic and Outdoor Centre, he said: “Local residents will be well aware of the importance of this scheme, and also what a long, complicated and expensive process it has been to get to this point.

“The project has been progressed as quickly as possible, recognising the need to provide extra security against flooding to residents and businesses in the town, while also giving appropriate consideration to the views of objectors.

“I’m very pleased to be here today, marking the official opening of this scheme, which will provide benefits to the wider Huntly community for many years to come.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr Area Committee, Moira Ingleby, said: “The people of Huntly know the risk posed to the town by flooding, having suffered from it in the past, and the majority will welcome this new scheme and the protection it provides.

“While it has not been a quick or easy process, it is great to see this scheme become reality and start to bring benefits to the wider community.”

The scheme has been designed to reduce the risk of flooding to residential, community and business properties along the River Deveron, the Ittingstone Burn and the Meadow Burn.

It comprises a number of individual elements, including creating storage for flood water to the west of the Meadows estate by constricting the flow in the Meadow Burn.

The Flood Protection Scheme (formal order) was promoted under the terms of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

The promotion of a Formal Order for the Huntly Flood Protection Scheme under this Act was a first for Aberdeenshire, and was considered necessary to deliver a scheme to protect the town quickly. It was granted planning consent in June 2012.