Calls for Mosset Burn to be further managed to prevent farmers' fields flooding
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AS Scotland endures the worst winter weather for nearly a decade, Moray Council has been accused of disregarding warnings about the risk of potentially catastrophic floods in the Forres area.
Local residents have raised concerns about the flood alleviation scheme and the banks of the Mosset Burn “being back to the condition they were in before the floods of 1997” when lower parts of the town were devastated.
Farmer Colin Massey notified the local authority before Christmas about flooding in the Milton of Grange/Cassieford area, but claim he was “fobbed off” by officials who stated that the condition of the banks of the Mosset is the responsibility of landowners.
Colin believes that the existing Forres flood alleviation schemes do not go far enough.
He said: “As far as I understand, the dam outflow is set at a fixed level which prevents any likelihood of the Mosset Burn
overflowing its banks as it passes through the town, but this will not prevent low-lying fields being flooded downstream.”
Colin stated that up to 10 acres of land had been flooded at Milton of Grange before Christmas in a frequently repeated scenario since completion of flood alleviation work for the town.
He also expressed fears for the town itself being under threat.
He said: “We are highlighting the fact that if the Mosset water flow isn’t adjusted, we’ll all be back to square one. If its not fit to cope then the water will back up all the way to the town.”
Colin raised his concerns with Forres Community Councillor, Graham Murdoch, who also highlighted the needs of wildlife and the environment generally.
He said: “Forres Community Council and Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust carried out a survey of the Mosset a while back. It was very comprehensive and considers the people and wildlife the river affects when it floods.
“We need to find a compromise that will work for all. In the last 20 years, nothing has been done at the burn. We need a programme of stretches of maintenance over five year periods to clear it.
“We need investment in the flood alleviation system to clear the bushes and shrubs along the bank in particular.”
He added: “The Masseys are happy for work to be carried out on the areas concerned with the co-operation of Moray Council and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.”
Moray Councillor, George Alexander (Forres, Independent), is also well aware of the flooding issue as a resident at Waterford which saw some of the most serious flooding in 1997.
He said: “It is always a worry when we see any flooding incident but considering the weather we had before Christmas it’s a relief that the only flooding has been in low lying fields.
“The worst flooding I have seen locally is adjacent to the Muckle Burn where large areas of fields were flooded to considerable depths but we have also seen puddles here at Waterford which were bigger than anything witnessed in the last 40 years.
“I can only imagine the horrors of a repeat of the 1997 incident coming at the time of a pandemic.”
The Burn of Mosset Flood Alleviation Scheme was officially opened in 2009. According to Moray Council’s records, to date, damages of around £20 million have been avoided with 900 residential and 50 business properties protected.