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Community council enlist help of new chairman to improve the town's flood defences


By Donald Wilson

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Sheena Baker, Chair of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council. Picture Gary Anthony
Sheena Baker, Chair of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council. Picture Gary Anthony

THE new Chairman of the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Planning Partnership has been asked by a community council to add her voice to the need for early progress and investment in upgrading and improving the town's flood defences and water and sewerage infrastructure.

Chief Inspector Jen Valentine took on the role as Chair of NNCPP earlier this year and at their September meeting members of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council said they welcomed the discussion on the issue at a recent partnership meeting.

Sheena Baker, Chair of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council said they were pleased the police chief undertook to 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.

"You 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," said Mrs Baker in a letter to Chief Inspector Valentine.

"The pattern of climate-change suggests that the risk will increase and flooding become more frequent.

"The 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."

Mrs Baker said there are problems with infrastructure and capacity in the town and 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 affecting water quality at the towns 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.

"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."


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