25 May 2016
We are aware that there is, quite rightly, a lot of local interest in the proposed Whitesands
Flood Protection Scheme (FPS), and we wanted to take this opportunity to allay
some concerns members of the public may have about this.
SEPA has been involved in the Whitesands FPS process for a number of years in
line with our strategic role in relation to flooding.
A detailed, calibrated hydraulic model has been developed by Dumfries and
Galloway Council to help assess flooding issues and consider potential flood
mitigation options for the lower River Nith.
SEPA has been fully engaged during this process and has reviewed the model, and
we currently consider it as the most robust and appropriate assessment of
flooding in this part of the catchment. In fact, we are now using the modelling
outputs to support our statutory flood risk advice to land use planning
Using this model, Dumfries and Galloway Council have identified the most
suitable option to reduce flooding in the Whitesands area of the town as direct
defences. This has been included within our Flood Risk Management Strategies
for the Solway (which was subject to a public consultation and formally
approved by Scottish Ministers in December 2015).
Given the above, and the frequent and severe flooding seen in the town on a
number of occasions, we are fully supportive of these measures.
We are aware that the study has identified that direct defences could result in
a slight localised increase in water levels upstream of the town centre during
a significant flood event. At present, it is estimated that this slight
increase would be approximately 50mm.
We have discussed this matter with flooding colleagues at the Council, and
understand that works can be undertaken to prevent any potential negative
impacts caused as a result of the scheme.
We will continue to work in partnership with the Council and other stakeholders
as plans further develop.