How will the flood protection scheme for Ballater be funded?
Funding is provided by the Scottish Government and the relevant local authority (80/20). The Ballater FPS has been prioritised to be included within Cycle 1 (2016-2022) following the flood event in the winter of 2015/16, whereas it had previously been included in Cycle 2 (2022-2028).
Can the selected preferred option be changed following submission of the Feasibility Report to SEPA?
Yes – the Feasibility Report (available at http://ballater-fps.com/supplementary-reports/) identifies the current preferred option which may be altered following further analysis and investigation. This mechanism allows for refinement of the preferred option, but excludes changing to a different option. Refinement of the preferred option includes changes to alternative routes for direct defences and changes to the type of direct defence.
Were the plans for the flood protection scheme rushed?
No – Aberdeenshire Council appointed the Consultants (RPS) for the Ballater FPS in June 2017. Topographical surveys, hydrological and hydraulic analysis were undertaken during 2017 prior to holding a public consultation on draft flood maps on 11th December 2017 in the Victoria and Albert Halls in Ballater.
During 2018, RPS consulted with both SEPA and Aberdeenshire Council to finalise the hydrological and hydraulic analyses prior to commencing an assessment of potential flood alleviation options. RPS continued consultation with SEPA and Aberdeenshire Council during 2019 to finalise the Feasibility Report, which identifies a preferred option for the Ballater FPS.
The reports generated as part of the Ballater FPS are being submitted to SEPA who will consider Ballater FPS with the other schemes across Scotland, within Cycle 1. SEPA expect that by Summer 2020, a draft flood scheme prioritisation list detailed within cycle 1 (2016 – 2022) will be completed. Recommended flood schemes will go forward for public consultation in December 2020 with final flood scheme prioritisations due in December 2021.
How were flooding damages to properties calculated?
The Feasibility Report contains Appendix A – Damage Assessment Guidelines and Methodology. The methodology follows the latest guidance available, and is consistent with the approach taken in other flood studies to ensure that a common baseline is adopted for comparison during the prioritisation process.
Why was little regard given to public opinion before the consultation held in September 2019?
Aberdeenshire Council and RPS held a public consultation on draft flood maps on 11th December 2017 in the Victoria and Albert Halls in Ballater. Questionnaires were provided to those in attendance which included a request for information on proposals which could help to reduce the flood risk in Ballater.
Since the December 2017 consultation, Aberdeenshire Council and RPS have been working, in consultation with SEPA, to identify a preferred option. This process was completed in 2019. A consultation on the options was held with Stakeholders in March 2019, and with the public in September 2017.
Has there been consultation with local businesses (Ballater Caravan Park and Ballater Golf Club)?
A consultation on the options was held with Stakeholders, including the Caravan Park and the Golf Club, in March 2019.
Why are flood defences being built through the golf course and caravan park?
The primary aim of the defences is to reduce the risk of flooding in Ballater. The Ballater FPS Feasibility Report (Section 3.3) describes how a long list of actions which could reduce the flood risk to Ballater have been assessed to determine which should be progressed as part of a preferred option. In order to reduce the risk of flooding to the properties within the centre of Ballater, this screening process determined that direct defences would provide the most appropriate solution. The choice of the route of the direct defences was selected as this provides what is considered to be the optimum route, however, the report acknowledges (Section 126.96.36.199) that the selected route is likely to be amended during future project stages following further investigation and analysis.
Have any alternative routes for flood defences been considered?
Yes – alternative routes have been considered but not costed at this stage. These will be reviewed in more detail if Ballater is prioritised by SEPA. This will be reviewed at outline and detailed design stage and subject to further public consultation.
What might flood defences look like after construction?
The project website (http://ballater-fps.com/supplementary-reports/) contains a video which visualises how the scheme may look for preferred option 3A.
How would surface water flooding/drainage issues be dealt with if flood defences were built?
The detailed design will specifically look at building a drainage (DAS) model for Ballater to assess surface water, ground water and pluvial rainfall events behind the defences. This will also be used to assess the pumping station sizes and pumps rates required. Ground investigation works will also be required to inform the detailed design on soil type, permeabilities and the cut off depth required to deal with seepage flows from the River Dee.
Where would the properties identified for relocation as part of the preferred option be moved to?
Section 3.3.1 of the Feasibility Report (Figure 3.1) identifies potential locations for properties identified for relocation. It is acknowledged that these locations may not be suitable and that alternative locations should be identified prior to detailed design of the scheme.
What are the economic impacts of building flood defences through the golf course and caravan park?
Table 3.19 in the Feasibility Report outlines the economic impacts, in terms of flood risk, for each option. An assessment of the impact to Ballater economy following the implementation of the scheme has not been explicitly considered as part of this project, and would be subject to a separate study to be undertaken prior to detailed design.
Has the use of upstream storage areas/floodplains been considered?
Yes. Sections 3.3.2 and 3.3.11 provide details of the analysis undertaken in relation to the potential use of storage as part of a preferred option.
Has the impact of the Red Brae collapse during Storm Frank (December 2015) on flooding mechanisms been assessed?
Yes. A Technical Note summarising the assessment undertaken is available at http://ballater-fps.com/supplementary-reports/.
Does Ballater Bridge cause a restriction to flow? Would a replacement of the bridge or addition of bypass culverts help convey a greater flow?
Section 3.3.4 of the Feasibility Report assesses the potential for Ballater Bridge to cause a restriction to flow. The hydraulic model, constructed specifically for this project, was used to confirm that Ballater Bridge does not pose a significant restriction or cause increased water levels upstream during a flood event.
Section 188.8.131.52 of the Feasibility Report assesses the potential to reduce flood risk by replacing the Ballater Bridge with a bridge which caused no restriction to flows, in addition to expanding the floodplain upstream and downstream of the bridge (requiring the relocation of affected properties). This option was considered technically unfeasible, as the hydraulic model showed that it did not reduce the flood risk to Ballater. It should be noted that the existing bridge is a listed structure.
Section 184.108.40.206 of the Feasibility Report assesses the potential for an additional arch on the right bank at Ballater Bridge to improve conveyance, when implemented along with direct defences. This concludes that the additional arch would not result in a significant reduction of peak water levels during a flood event, although it may be beneficial in reducing the potential for scour at the bridge.
Are there any proposed defences downstream of Ballater Bridge?
Yes – Section 3.5 of the Feasibility Report describes each option, which include direct defences downstream of Ballater Bridge in order to reduce the risk of flooding to the Pannanich Road area.
What are the next stages and timescales for Ballater getting a flood scheme?
The reports generated as part of the Ballater FPS are being submitted to SEPA who will consider Ballater FPS with the other schemes across Scotland, within Cycle 1. There will be an estimated 70 to 100 other schemes submitted along with the Ballater FPS. SEPA expect that by Summer 2020, a draft flood scheme prioritisation list detailed within cycle 1 (2016 – 2022) will be completed. Recommended flood schemes will go forward for public consultation in December 2020 with final flood schemes prioritisations due in December 2021.