Oban needs significant investment to cut flood risks

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There is no quick fix to Oban’s flooding problems which will need a significant investment to overcome, a councillor has warned.

Councillor Roddy McCuish, policy lead for roads and amenity services, gave the warning as he thanked the community for  sharing their experiences at a recent drop-in event as part of a study helping shape the town’s future flood defences.

‘The truth is, there is no quick fix to the situation. It will take a number of agencies and significant investment to solve the problem. Even then, sometimes the elements simply conspire against us, as we saw back in October,’ he said.

The flooding experienced between  October 7 and 8 last year, when a total of 440mm of rainfall was recorded, was considered to be a one in 70 years event.

Two flood risk consultation events have now been held in Oban. The most recent was on  January 30. Other key stakeholders involved in the study include SEPA, Scottish Water, community councils and local interest groups.

Funding is being made available by the Scottish Government to pay for 80 per cent of flood risk solutions identified in a flood study but it will not be available until 2022.

Back in October, flooding mostly affected the Lochavullin area of the town which is particularly low-lying and susceptible to the effects of coastal water levels as well as rainfall and surface water. A pumped system was in place to reduce the risk of flooding in the car park but rapidly rising water caused the electrics in the pump to fail.

Since then a series of short-term fixes has been carried out. The existing pumps and cabinet in Lochavullin car park have been serviced or renewed as needed. Temporary flood barriers have been installed along a short stretch of the Black Lynn burn and some of the drainage and combined sewer pipes in the area will be cleaned.

Members of Argyll and Bute’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee were given an update on the town’s flood risks at a meeting on Thursday.

Man-made structures on the Black Lynn and Soroba burns are among likely flood prevention options for Oban, they were told.

Committee members were asked to note what work has been carried out so far on pumps and barriers in Oban and to welcome the progress of the Oban flood study.

Useful information on protecting homes from flooding can be found on the council website at bit.ly/Flood_Advice