St Andrews waterway flood risk reduction plans submitted

Measures to tackle the long-term problems of the Kinness Burn in St Andrews bursting its banks, which in the past has caused widespread flooding misery for householders in parts of the town, are imminent.

It has emerged that the much anticipated application by Fife Council to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), for permission to carry out flood risk reduction works on the waterway, has now been submitted.

The proposal is to reduce the height of most of the berms in the burn by 50 per cent, leaving just 10cm above the normal water level, as well as the removal of any unstable sections of existing berms.

It also planned to repair sections of the banking and timber revetments of the burn which runs through the town, while clearance works under bridges will be included as part of the works’ project.

Fife Council agreed a programme of mitigation measures earlier this year following a public meeting with affected residents, with the likely cost being in the region of £150,000.

Over recent years, householders in the area of Dempster Court, Dempster Terrace, Fleming Place and Kinnessburn Road have been left counting the financial cost on several occasions after flood damage to their properties and gardens when the burn burst its banks, in particular after heavy rainfall when drains were unable to cope with the volume of water.

Local Fife Councillor Robin Waterston, who has welcomed the latest progress, said that initial cutting back of vegetation to reduce nesting sites was carried out during the spring, while further work is likely to be undertaken next week.

Also as part of the process, SEPA will issue public notification of receipt of the application by the local authority and will carry out an assessment of any representations or objections which may be lodged before determining their own response.

However, all going well, the programme should be carried out in September.

Councillor Waterston added: “This is very good news. We have waited a long time for this, and residents of the area have been getting very frustrated.

“But the submission of this application marks a critical point in the process, and we have to hope that SEPA will be able to give their approval with a minimum of delay. The works, once complete, won’t eliminate all flood risk, but they should make a significant difference for most rainfall events.”

Many residents in the area wanted the complete removal of the berms, but were informed that SEPA was unlikely to agree to such action.

However, that option was rejected as it was deemed likely to have a significant detrimental impact on the ecology of the burn, which is used by birds and other wildlife, and therefore unlikely to be permitted by SEPA.

It is being proposed to reduce the berms which create the worst of the bottlenecks between Maggie Murray’s bridge and the bridge at Greenside Place.