MORAY COUNCIL WILL conduct a study on the dredging of rivers in the region as a means of reducing the risks of flooding.
Dredging was at one time a common practice in Moray and its withdrawal has been cited by many experts as a contributory factor to flooding in recent years.
Now Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross has managed to secure approval for a report to be prepared on dredging and for that to be followed by a debate at a future meeting of the Full Council.
The move came at Wednesday’s council meeting when Councillor Ross tabled a written question on the subject, asking council officials what plans they had for dredging in the wake of recent storms and flooding suffered by neighbouring authorities, most notably Aberdeenshire.
After securing approval for the issue to be looked at in detail, Councillor Ross said: “I have always been concerned by the reluctance of council officials to look at the opportunities of using dredging as a tool to reduce flooding.
“It seems that environmental concerns and the protection of a few plants and fish is of greater importance than the protection of people and their homes.
“The recent storms and the impact the flooding from these storms had on communities very close to Moray led me to submitting my question – and I’m glad we now have agreement for a full report to come to all councillors and we can look at the pros and cons of dredging as a measure to control flooding.
“While there are five flood alleviation schemes in Moray, their aim is to get the water out of towns as quickly as possible and that clearly means there is a greater chance of flooding downstream, particularly if rivers are not maintained and allowed to silt up.
“I hope when we look at this in the future we can see beyond the standard negativity from SEPA and other regulatory bodies and instead look at what is best for our communities and the individuals who live at risk of flooding.
“If dredging will contribute in even just a small way to reducing the impact of flooding I think we should use it and I look forward to presenting a robust case for dredging some of our rivers in Moray.”