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Repeat of flooding 'hell' near Easter Ross school campus site is devastating, say residents

By Niall Harkiss

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Residents neighbouring the construction site of a new school campus in Easter Ross are seeking fresh assurances in the wake of further 'devastation' caused by flooding.

Concerns from people living near the site of the new state of the art 3-18 campus at Tain were first raised in November last year after their properties were hit by flooding during spells of heavy rainfall.

Contractor Kier Construction stated in January that they believed they had resolved the issue with the capping of an old field drain.

The construction company also took measures to enlarge their settlement pond, as well as installing fencing and a silt settlement tank, as per instruction from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

But new reports of flooding have come to light in the wake of heavy rain this week, with residents saying that things have now 'gone too far'.

Neil MacDonald, who lives at one of the affected properties on Moss Road, says that he has lost all confidence in the contractor and Highland Council.

He said: "I am delighted Tain is getting a new school, but these works are making local residents lives hell. We were assured these flooding issues were going to be taken care of after they happened last time.

"As you can see, they are not. I have lost all confidence in the council and mainly the contractor for this flooding. Surely the first thing a huge site on a hill needs is drainage? This clearly hasn’t happened.

It is not the first time that the homes have been affected by flooding while works are ongoing.
It is not the first time that the homes have been affected by flooding while works are ongoing.

"My property, and that of my neighbours, are all damaged and I don’t even want to think what damage this water has done to the founds and under my flooring. I made a call to two local councillors, Alastair Rhind and Derek Louden, on Sunday as when I returned home my property was under water.

"They both arrived at my property to see the devastation that these works and incompetence are causing. I have been assured that my property will be covered for all the damage but I am still waiting for this in writing. This has gone too far."

Tain councillor Derek Louden confirmed that further assurances have been given that improvements will be made to temporary drainage measures to make sure all the water is carried away from the rear of every property.

SEPA have stated that they were aware of significant sediment leaving the site during heavy rainfall whilst improvements to contain the silt were being made, and have said they are now content with the improved mitigation in place.

The contractor has already put several measures in place to prevent further flooding.
The contractor has already put several measures in place to prevent further flooding.

A representative for SEPA said: "The developer has complied with SEPA’s requirements for suitably designed and sized construction drainage and has taken appropriate action to prevent or mitigate the impact of silt run off on the water environment.

"It is still possible surface water containing sediment will leave the site during extreme rainfall events."

A Kier spokesperson said: “The extreme weather of the last few days has led to additional saturation and surface water run-off locally, including at the Tain Royal Academy site and we appreciate that this is frustrating for local residents.

“We continue to work closely with Highland Council and statutory bodies including SEPA, to manage the discharge of surface water from the site.”

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