The copy of the NW&SCC letter below will get you up to date on what isn't happening re flooding dangers in Nairn:
Nairn West and Suburban Community Council
4th October 2021
Ch Insp Jen Valentine,
Chair, Nairn & Nairnshire Community Planning Partnership
c/o Police Scotland
ISSUES IN NAIRN(SHIRE)
We were pleased and encouraged that in the discussion of this subject at last week’s Partnership meeting, you undertook to pursue follow-up contacts with SEPA and other local authorities to add momentum to the necessary action on flood precautions, and to involve Community Councils in that process.
will be aware that certain areas of Nairn are highly vulnerable to
flooding especially when heavy rainfall and high river-levels
coincide with high tides in the Moray Firth. There have been several
serious flooding episodes in recent years. The pattern of
climate-change suggests that the risk will increase and flooding
become more frequent.
Police and Fire and Rescue Services (and indeed the health and
welfare agencies) are all heavily involved in contingency planning
for the response
to flooding incidents. We appreciate and support this – although
we obviously hope that such incidents are rare and that emergency
action will not be required.
role as Community Councils has been to address the wider context and
to press for appropriate prevention
measures to reduce the
risk of damage and disruption caused by flooding. You might find it
useful to have a brief outline of the efforts we have made – and
continue to make – and to draw attention to this in your dialogue
with the relevant authorities. Our focus has been on two areas for
the problem of infrastructure capacity within and around the town.
Much of the drainage and sewerage network especially in the older
parts of town is Victorian, of limited capacity and in need of
maintenance and replacement. At times of high rainfall and run-off,
there is a particular problem with the discharge of storm water,
‘grey’ water and untreated sewage through Combined Sewage
Overflows (CSOs) directly into the river Nairn, and with ‘burst’
draincovers for example in the Merryton/Maggot area. This in turn
raises pollution levels in the river and affects the water quality at
the beaches. There are also ongoing concerns about the capacity of
the drainage network and the efficiency of the waste-water treatment
works by the East beach, especially with the massive expansion of
housing development at Lochloy and Kingsteps in the past decade.
about 2014 and 2017, faced with compulsory EU directives on bathing
water quality, SEPA convened a local “stakeholder group” to
address the failure of Nairn’s beaches to meet the required
standards. The CCs participated along with Highland Council, SEPA
and Scottish Water. Regrettably our efforts to persuade the two
agencies to bring forward investment in upgrading the networks,
preventing CSO discharges, and implementing flood-prevention measures
in the upstream catchment areas, fell on stony ground. Once SEPA had
instituted a water-testing programme and installed electronic warning
signs about water quality at the beaches, they disbanded the local
working group. Meanwhile the problems of infrastructure capacity and
indeed sewage overflows and bathing water quality remain.
second area for our efforts has been around the delivery of the
agreed official government strategy for flood prevention. SEPA are
the lead agency for the analysis and strategic planning of flood
prevention measures. They published a national strategy in 2012, a
further updated document in 2015, and a speciific Flood Risk
Management Plan for this area in 2021. These all identify and task
the local authority – Highland Council – with the responsibility
to lead the implementation and delivery of actual measures.
much has happened. No precautionary and preventative studies are
being undertaken, and no new measures are being planned or put in
place in the Nairn catchment area. No physical works have been
undertaken in any of the three Potentially Vulnerable Areas (Nairn
West, Nairn Central, and Nairn East/Auldearn) - all of which are
assessed by SEPA as being among the highest-risk in the entire
contrast with the action taken in recent years by Moray Council in
Elgin, Forres and elsewhere, and with the substantial works recently
completed along the River Ness, has not passed unnoticed in Nairn.
community councils we have repeatedly raised the issue with our
Councillors. Representations have also been made by local residents
to our local MSP. Those living in Fishertown and nearby flood-prone
areas continue to fear further flooding. Residents of the newer
Lochloy housing estates continue to raise concerns about water and
drainage problems. The recent evidence of developer ambition to
build further large-scale housing on two or three sites in Nairn
underlines the need to address both infrastructure capacity and
wrote formally to the Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee (Cllr
Heggie) in January 2020. He did not reply; a response from a
Council official said that there was “the
intention to progress studies”
but that there was no budget or allocated funding to do so.
two Nairn CCs jointly made further representations on 25 July 2021.
The letter was copied to you at the time, but I attach a further copy
for ease of reference. That letter sets out very clearly the nature
of our concerns. The Area Committee Chair acknowledged receipt, and
undertook to respond “when
back in harness”.
We have had no such response.
We therefore hope that as NNCPP Chair, as well as in your Police Service role, you will be able to reinforce to the relevant agencies (SEPA and SW) the need for early progress and investment in upgrading and improving the capacity of the town’s infrastructure based on reliable and up to date analysis of the risks in the local PVAs; and that you will be able to persuade Highland Council to assign greater priority to the local flood prevention task and to allocate funding and engage in practical action rather sooner than they appear to be doing at present. We will be ready to provide whatever support or further information we can to assist you in this task.
Cc: Cllr Tom Heggie, Leader, Ward 18 Highland Council, Cllr Laurie Fraser, Cllr Liz MacDonald, Cc: Cllr Peter Saggers,
Cc: Fergus Ewing - Scottish National Party - Fergus.Ewing.firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: David Haas in the absence of Acting Ward 18 Ward Manager, David.Haas@highland.gov.uk
Cc: Ariane Burgess - Scottish Green Party - Ariane.Burgess.email@example.com
Cc: Hamish Bain, Chair Nairn River Community Council
Cc: NW&SCC – Community Councillors