Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Storm Frank floods Aberfoyle

Forth floods Aberfoyle from flank of Creag Mor
Main Street Grand Canal
Police Scotland without a motorbike
Water junction
Land Rover delusions
Another one bites the dust

Well that was an eventful morning. After a night of Storm Frank, formerly known as torrential rain, the flood levels had reached their highest levels by mid morning and still the cars tried to get through. A timber lorry hauled out a car that was bobbing about between the hedgerows and towed it to the road opposite the Baillie where it was then dunked again as the river levels continued to invade the village. Then a brand new Range Rover Evoque was driven at speed into the deepest part of the flood before it began to float and then waltzed round in the swirling floodwater by the old post house. I have seldom seen such a carefree or careless, you decide, exhibition of driving.

We entertained a young couple from Aberdeen who had sensibly decided to wait for the floods to recede and needed a rest room. They are hoping to attempt to return home later but they may have to wait a few hours, or maybe days, before they can escape. Meanwhile they have left their car in the drive and we have escorted them through the woods to beyond the floods where they can catch a lift back to Forest Hills to spend time with their family.

The views looking down from Creag Mor showed that Aberfoyle had acquired a couple of new 'Frankwater' lochs either side of Manse Road. The main street was flooded, sand bags were being dispensed as part of the usual belated and often pointless but nevertheless ritual celebration of flooding. Richard wore his waders to get through to buy his paper but even the co-op was closed so no crossword only cross words. The flood damage to the shops and Forth Inn could be substantial and expensive to rectify as was the case three years ago, but maybe the Woollen Mill will be having a genuine flood sale!

Meanwhile we are still waiting for the go ahead of the ever so expensive flood prevention measures. They could have been constructed years ago but for the onerous and time consuming bidding process set up by the Scottish Government to evaluate proposals. The outcome of the Scottish Government's obsessive control of capital spending has been an over ambitious and costly designed scheme from consultants, who alone cost far more than the total cost of the council's original scheme. As soon as government funding is set aside for any development, it attracts a queue of financiers, construction companies and engineering consultants eager to play for high stakes in the complex bureaucratic process that is endemic with centralised government funding regimes. £12m is high cost for the Aberfoyle flood prevention measures and with Dumfries and Aberdeenshire now propelled to the front of the queue following Storm Frank, it may be a long time for any approval, if at all.

And so it came to pass, the Scottish Government published its National FloodRisk Management Plan on 11 January 2016. It contains 42 schemes costing £235m and there is no mention of the Trossachs or Aberfoyle although elsewhere in the three part report it acknowledges that the annual cost of flood damage in Aberfoyle is up to £500,000, not nearly enough to justify £12m on the cost benefit analysis. Sadly this takes no account of the lost days of education and this must be running at 3 or 4 days a year for the 90 children. There was another day lost to flooding on 26 January that made the national news when the Fire and Rescue team sent out a boat to belatedly retrieve the children from school, they had already escaped by the path through the woods behind the school but some teachers were floated home.

Storm Frank ensures parking restrictions are obeyed

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