Open Day on Tuesday 26 February at the Brunton

Local residents are invited to discover more about the flood protection works being planned for Musselburgh at an open public event to be held at Venue 2, The Brunton on Tuesday 26 February. The event has been designed to provide flooding information to interested parties in Musselburgh and will showcase progress made by East Lothian Council to date. Members of the Scheme’s Project Team will be available to discuss local concerns and answer any questions.

The event will also include stalls from Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Flood Forum and the council’s Emergency Planning section who will be present to provide information and advice on flood risk, flood warning systems and property-level protection measures that householders may want to put in place.

Musselburgh has a history of damaging floods from the River Esk - the last major flood, and inundation of the High Street occurred in 1948. There were also significant events in 1927 and 1891. There is a lack of evidence of these events available to the Scheme, and so the Project Team are asking local people who may have any historical photos or memories of these flood events to get in touch.

Conor Price, Project Manager for the Scheme said: “Historical evidence of past flood events is hugely valuable to the Project Team.  We can use photographs of flood level to re-run simulations of the flood events that previously occurred and calibrate our new hydraulic model.  The water level gauge in the River Esk by Eskmills was only installed in 1962, therefore we do not necessarily have full records of all flood events prior to this date.  We are hoping this ‘Call for Information’ will allow us to build-up our knowledge of the town’s infrastructure and incidents of historic flooding.”

Musselburgh also has a flood risk from the Firth of Forth which can flow over Fisherrow Promenade and back-up the River Esk, along with, the Pinkie Burn; the Musselburgh Mill Lade; and ground-water issues which have been particularly noted in the Windsor Park / Pinkie Road area. Information is also being sought on local knowledge on any of these flood risks.

The Project Team have installed a timber post at Eskmills at the start of the river pathway, along with a notice board.  This post has reproduced the actual recorded flood levels experienced in this area during the flood events of August 1948 and September 1891.  These levels were historically marked on the gatehouse at this location, and were recorded by the Council’s engineer prior to the gatehouse being demolished in the 1970s.  It is hoped that in reproducing these levels that people of the town can appreciate the scale of the major flood events that Musselburgh experience in the past.

In recent years, the combination of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns has suggested a possibly higher incidence of flooding events in the future.  The Project Team are currently finalising a new Hydraulic Model which will be capable of simulating all of these flood risks.  The new flood maps deriving from this model, along with the proposed flood protection options will be presented to the town via a formal Public Exhibition during the summer of 2019.

Cabinet member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire said: “In December 2017 the council engaged a Design Consultant and tasked them with developing a Scheme for Musselburgh. Since then the project has been preparing an approach to delivering this project, and collecting survey information. The first phases of topographic survey works and ecological surveys have been completed including surveyors determining the ‘threshold’ levels for properties within the flood plain. In essence this is the level at which water begins to enter a house.”

“The Project Team has also developed a new computer-based hydraulic model which will confirm the actual flood risk to the town. Only once the flood risk is fully understood can the project start developing the best combination of flood risk reduction measures through which that risk can be reduced and thereby the town protected. I would urge Musselburgh residents who may be concerned to come along to the Open Day and discover more about the extensive works being planned to protect their town from flood risks.”

Published: Thursday, 21st February 2019