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Mosset Burn may need improvements

By Staff Reporter

Bob Laughton, Graham Murdoch and Graham Hilditch are commissioning a survey of the Mosset Burn.
Bob Laughton, Graham Murdoch and Graham Hilditch are commissioning a survey of the Mosset Burn.

A SURVEY of the Mosset Burn is to be carried out to assess its condition which is believed to be deteriorating.

Forres Community Council (FCC) and Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust (FNLFT) are commissioning a consultant to identify problem areas within the lower and middle Mosset, from the Findhorn Bay upstream to the flood alleviation works at Chapleton.

The assessment will include a review of work carried out by SEPA and other groups on the middle section in the last few years.

FNLFT director Bob Laughton described the project at April's FCC meeting in the Tolbooth.

He said: "There is siltation at Sanquhar Pond, and there are build-ups of gravel/sediment and trees along the way which are creating dams leading to a build-up of plastic pollution.

"Drainage has also been affected in surrounding fields."

Mr Laughton confirmed that FCC are contributing £1000 to the survey while the remaining £2000 has been secured from other sources.

Mr Laughton prepared an initial investigation titled 'Mosset: Habitat And Land Use Audit Proposal 2019' which describes the waterway from Burntack to Findhorn Bay and explains its requirements.

It states: "The burn is heavily modified along much of its length. In the lower farmland areas it is straightened and canal-like with steep embankments, likely to have been installed in the late 19th century. Part of the burn was dammed to form Sanquhar Pond. The flood alleviation scheme upstream may have altered drainage systems leading to a decline in the quality of nearby grassland. Weirs in place along the burn affect fish passage, flow rates and sediment movements. In the past, the burn has also been dredged and embanked to maintain the riverbed level to prevent flooding into farmland. This has allowed gravel deposits to increase in some areas, causing a perched riverbed to establish."

Concern has also been raised by local residents regarding issues relating to the Mosset: the channel is filling with gravel and debris that needs to be cleared for drainage and to reduce flooding risk; sedimentation in Sanquhar Pond is reducing the habitat for wildlife and spoiling its look; non-native plants are affecting access to the burn as well as being a danger to the public.

FCC's Graham Murdoch confirmed he was initially concerned about the Mosset after a visit to the transfer station at Waterford..

He said: "The Mosset Burn bank at the old level crossing is overgrown and even the silt has growth on it. Trees are growing on the bank that have weak roots so are toppling over which will cause more dams."

The consultant will contact stakeholders including proprietors, farmers and other owners in the area. Through discussion, interview and site visits, he will determine the potential for removal and re-naturalising the burn channel while identifying willingness to proceed with any associated works.

A project steering committee will be formed from local stakeholders, FCCl and FNLFT to provide comments on the scoping report.

It is hoped that the initial investigation will be finished by the end of the summer. The group will review the report and assess it for future action before reporting back to stakeholders.

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