Opinion divided over removal of South Esk gravel bank to ease flooding in Brechin
by Geraldine McKelvie
Work to remove a gravel bank that is exacerbating a flooding problem in Brechin could be under way this summer, but the move has divided local politicians.
Agreement for the £9000 scheme in the South Esk at River Street came after Angus Council leader Bob Myles put forward a motion to the local authority's infrastructure services committee with a series of recommendations as to how the issue could be resolved.
Mr Myles has suggested the head of roads apply for the various licences required for the work to be carried out and report back to the committee before the summer recess to allow work to be carried out as quickly as possible.
Mr Myles said, "We have a window of opportunity to remove the gravel bank. We don't want to spend the whole year waiting to find if there may or may not be flooding again.
"If we can set the wheels for this in motion, we may then be in a position to take action over the summer months."
Mr Myles told the committee he consulted the head of finance on his proposals and the funding could be sourced from the roads division's revenue budget for flood prevention.
The motion was opposed by independent member Bob Spink, who suggested the gravel bank would likely reform quickly and that the measure was therefore not cost effective.
He was seconded by Ms Evans, who admitted this was an "unusual" position for her to take as a local councillor.
She said, "People want to see effective action being taken, and after reading the report I think the removal of the gravel bank would have little if any improvement on the flooding problem."
Ms Evans argued the local authority should wait until more funds were released by the Scottish Government to combat the problem.
The council leader's motion was carried by 10 votes to four — with several of Ms Evans' SNP colleagues voting in favour of the motion tabled by the alliance leader.
Speaking after the debate, Mr Myles accused Ms Evans of "living in cloud-cuckoo land" as regards her position on flood prevention.
He said, "I'm amazed that Councillor Evans is willing to sit and do nothing about this while she waits on a gift from her fairy godmother, the Scottish Government.
"We have to be seen to be taking the steps that we can in the interim."