New flood response action programme

Flooding in Cupar, July 2009.

Flooding in Cupar, July 2009.

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FIFE Council is stepping up its flood response programme in a bid to avoid the scenes of devastation witnessed in recent years.

Thirty-two streams and burns in north east Fife have been identified as ‘high risk’ sites and will be checked and cleared of debris ahead of predicted flooding.

Emergency equipment stores will also be bolstered, with extra water pumps and sandbags to be kept at Cupar Trading Estate.

Talks are ongoing about storing ‘self help’ sandbags at fire stations.

Flash floods have hit north east Fife repeatedly over the past few years, bringing misery to householders and business owners.

Cupar councillor Margaret Kennedy, who has been working with residents affected by flooding, welcomed the new measures.

She said: “I expressed from the outset that it is extremely important we enact emergency planning processes to deal with and respond to events such as these.”

The top priority sites identified by council officials include Lady Burn in Cupar, Den Burn in Newburgh, Maspie Burn in Falkland and Auchtermuchty Burn.

Ladybank Road Ditch in Dunshalt, Kinness Burn in St Andrews and Ceres Burn at Ceres and Pitscottie have also been earmarked for urgent pre-flood checks.

The village of Freuchie — devastated by flooding in August 2008 — has two high priority sites, Pittilock Burn and Freuchie Burn.

John Thomson, chairman of Freuchie Flood Action Group, said: “The flood response improvements are welcomed by at-risk communities.

“A co-ordinated multi-agency response has the potential to prevent future flooding in many locations throughout Fife.”

Mr Thomson said the early arrival of Fife Fire and Rescue pumping equipment averted disaster at Freuchie Mill in November 2009, just months after residents had returned to their homes following the previous floods.

He went on: “This early intervention saved an estimated £1 million in property damage and prevented residents having to face the trauma of their homes being destroyed again.”