CLAIMS that a Moray watercourse came close to bursting its banks during last week’s 36 hour deluge have been dismissed by the leader of Moray Council.
George Alexander said the flood alleviation scheme at the Burn of Mosset in Forres had worked exactly as it had been designed and that there had been no threat of the burn spilling over.
Cllr Alexander, who chaired Moray Council’s flood alleviation sub-committee before it was disbanded, was responding to media coverage and social media exchanges – accompanied by images - which suggested that the Mosset was almost at bursting point as floodwater passed through the town.
However, Cllr Alexander said people needed to understand how the flood scheme worked.
He said: "There are some people who don’t seem to appreciate that the dam upstream of Forres at Chapelton controls the flow of water so that the Mosset Burn cannot overflow further downstream.
"What people were seeing last week – but perhaps not fully understanding - was a controlled release of floodwater from the dam at a rate the watercourse could cope with.
"There was never any danger of the burn reaching bursting point because the rate of discharge from the Chapelton dam was controlled so that the water would only reach a set level and no higher."
Cllr Alexander, who became leader of Moray Council following last month’s elections, said the flood scheme had done exactly what it was designed to do in times of torrential rain.
"Chapelton acts as a reservoir and as the water rises it is released at a safe rate by a control mechanism at the dam and allowed to make its way downstream without overflowing the banks.
"I am aware that there have been concerns about the burn silting and encroaching vegetation and that will continue to be monitored, but the important message I want to get across is that the flood scheme has now been fully tested and it worked perfectly."
The Burn of Mosset scheme was the second of five major flood alleviation schemes to be constructed by Moray Council.
It cost £21million and was completed in 2009 and continues to protect hundreds of homes and businesses from flooding.
Gordon Brailsford, whose popular Mosset Tavern is a stone’s throw from the burn, said he had absolute confidence in the flood scheme doing the job for which it was designed.
He and his wife Melissa took over the business 12 years ago when the threat of flooding meant they could not even get insurance for their upstairs flat.
"We used to look out anxiously when the water level rose but it is a huge relief not to have to do that now," he said.