Musselburgh flood team say they will learn from Brechin

Wednesday October 25th 2023


River Esk, Musselburgh, is at the centre of flood protection scheme.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The team behind a multimillion pound flood protection scheme in Musselburgh will look to learn lessons from the devastation caused in Brechin after its own system was overwhelmed

East Lothian Council has insisted the £16.7 million protection scheme in the Angus town did not ‘fail’ when Storm Babet hit but was ‘overtopped’ by the high waters.

And they said they will be looking to learn from what happened as they move forward with their own planned project.

The Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme (MFPS) has sparked controversy in the town after costs soared from the original £8.9m in 2016 to £43.5million estimated last year.

Opponents of the scheme, which includes the introduction of high walls through the town centre want it paused claiming not enough work has been carried out to find ‘natural solutions’ instead of walls.

They claim less than a tenth of the outline design for the scheme which will see 80 per cent of its funding come from Scottish Government and the remaining 20 per cent from East Lothian Council uses natural options.

The Musselburgh project aims to protect the town from flooding from the coast and the River Esk which runs through its centre.

A council spokesperson said that it will look at what happened in Brechin as it moves forward.

They said: “The Brechin Flood Protection Scheme did not ‘fail’. It was ‘overtopped’ as a flood event occurred that was of greater magnitude compared with the Standard of Protection of that scheme.

“That Brechin scheme was designed and delivered before the current guidance on climate change published in December 2018.

“The Musselburgh Scheme is considering the new / current guidance – which recommends a greater allowance to account for future climate change.

“That said, East Lothian Council and thereby the MFPS will look to learn any lessons available from the recent flooding and the Brechin FPS. We look forward to obtaining a full understanding of what happened in Angus / the North East and specifically the impact of the storm in Brechin.”

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