Environment agency info challenged

Travellers at the North Esk Park in St Cyrus say their site remained dry during Storm Frank

Travellers at the North Esk Park in St Cyrus say their site remained dry during Storm Frank

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The owner of the North Esk travellers’ site at St Cyrus is refuting information that advises the park was flooded during Storm Frank.

Just as 2015 was coming to a close, the storm hit the North-East and caused horrendous flooding across Angus and Aberdeenshire.

Whereas most of the neighbouring properties suffered flood damage and the road towards St Cyrus Nature Reserve was under water, the whole of the travellers’ site was unaffected.

Throughout the bad weather period the site was photographed, showing it was spared the flooding.

Site owner William Docherty said: “We had the coastguard on hand.

‘‘They were waiting throughout the day in case an emergency arose but the water didn’t reach us.

“Although everybody in the area was worried we really did stay bone dry.”

“At no stage did we suffer flooding at our site, yet the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are saying we did get flooded.

‘‘I’d like to know how they came to that conclusion.

The North Esk Traveller Site, which sprang up overnight without permission in Autumn 2013, is seeking retrospective planning consent from Aberdeenshire Council.

The two contentious planning points are the site being on a flood plain and within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Mr Docherty said: “This latest from SEPA is not factual information and, because our planning permission consent is dependant on the area being dry, there are huge implications for us.”

Alan Seith, the North Esk travellers’ planning consultant, said: “There is a good channel of communication between us, the council and SEPA which we hope continues.”

A spokesperson from SEPA said: “We raised concerns about flood risk in response to a recent planning application for a travellers’ site at St Cyrus.

“SEPA was not in attendance during the recent flood event,

‘‘However, we understand from discussions with relevant partner organisations that most of the travellers’ site at St Cyrus was affected by flooding during the recent storms.”