City fishes out £30,000 flood defence funds

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Flood defences in south Edinburgh are to be given a £30,000 overhaul in a bid to prevent future damage from flash flooding.

Residents and businesses in Morningside’s Balcarres Street were among the worst affected when severe weather hit the Capital in July.

Twelve ground-floor tenements, the Western Saab car dealership and Norman Stuart Auto Service were flooded by the unexpected downpour.

There was further disruption when heavy weather struck the Capital in October.

Now the city council has committed £30,000 towards the installation of gully improvements and temporary flood defences.

They will also work with Scottish Water to develop a solution.

The measures were agreed at a meeting of the transport, infrastructure and environment committee, in response to a motion by local councillors Mark McInnes and Paul Godzik.

Despite the investment, they still believe more needs to be done.

Conservative councillor McInnes said: “Obviously £30,000 is welcome, but it is too little. The people of Balcarres Street do not know what’s coming next – it’s a horrendous situation.

“As the report makes clear, there’s far more work that needs to be done by the council and Scottish Water to ensure this type of flooding does not happen again.

“Water flows from both Comiston Road and Morningside Road and meets in the middle of Balcarres Street – that’s what residents have been saying for years.”

The area has a history of flooding and Scottish Water constructed an attenuation tank to manage peak flow rates in storms.

Councillor McInnes added: “Scottish Water invested millions of pounds putting in a huge tank, causing a lot of inconvenience to residents in Balcarres Street, but it’s not achieving what it was meant to achieve.

“A lot of money was wasted – it should have been used to improve the gully and drains in Comiston and Morningside Road.”

The work will see a survey of all gully outlet pipes, the replacement of old-style gullies with modern ones and the promotion of “no parking” restrictions near each gully so access can be gained at all times.

The report concluded there was “no easy” long-term solution and that any permanent solution would be likely to require “significant” investment.

Labour councillor Paul Godzik said: “I’m very pleased that the council is putting £30,000 towards this and I’m sure the residents will be pleased.

“However, I do think that future work needs to be done to find a permanent solution, because I don’t think it’s acceptable that residents are continuing to have to live with the threat that the street may flood again – especially with the bad weather coming in the winter months.

“I have spoken with a number of residents and with the community council and there obviously is a high level of concern, given the fact that it’s flooded now on a number of occasions.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com