Public exhibition on 30 and 31 July at The Brunton


Local residents and businesses in Musselburgh are invited to discover more about their flood risk, and the flood protection scheme being developed for the town, at an open public exhibition to be held at Venue 1, The Brunton on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 July.

The exhibition will present the new flood maps, and visitors to the exhibition will be able to identify whether or not their properties are exposed to flood events.  The new model has had to look at not only the main flood risks from the River Esk and the North Sea (via the Firth of Forth), but also scenarios where a river flood event coincides with a high sea level.  Ultimately the scheme is proposing to protect against a blended combination of these risks.

The exhibition will also present an overview of the flood risk reduction options that are applicable to Musselburgh and advise visitors on the process the project team took to determine the best combination of flood protection options to reduce the flood risk to the town (the Preferred Scheme).  Members of the project team will be available to discuss the project in general, flood risk, and the flood risk reduction options.

In developing the Preferred Scheme the project team have undertaken a formal Option Appraisal Process and identified all possible flood risk reduction options. This process has resulted in almost 100 individual options being determined and over the past few months the project team have been appraising these options from a technical, environmental, economic and social perspective. These options will be presented via this public consultation and the reaction and perspective of the residents and businesses of Musselburgh is now considered essential to allow the project team to complete this appraisal process.

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. Further to information about the 1948 flood, gathered though the Scheme’s information gathering exercise earlier in the year, the new Hydraulic Model has been able to determine that the major flooding in August 1948 was equivalent to a 1 in 200 Years Flood Event today (an event with an Annual Event Probability (AEP) of 0.5%). 

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. All relevant scientific information on climate change has been considered by the project team and specific information will be provided to highlight the scheme’s approach to the impact of climate change on flood risk to Musselburgh.

Conor Price, Project Manager for the scheme said: “Through the Option Appraisal Process we are considering all options for reducing flood risk to Musselburgh. In some locations there are a number of options that appear to be equally viable, and similarly there are some locations where all options present significant challenges. The options associated with the Inveresk Weir and Musselburgh Mill lade are key examples of existing infrastructure that present such complex questions: Do we leave them as they are today? Do we modify them to take on new flood management functions? Do we take them away to reduce flood risk, but then lose their historic and cultural presence?”

“To move forward it is now essential that the people of Musselburgh assist us in choosing the best flood scheme for their town. This is their town and we want to ensure we deliver them the best possible flood scheme that enhances rather than diminishes the natural beauty of the historic town and the scenic river corridor. In particular, we would like to highlight that many of the statutory stakeholders have already confirmed their desire and expectation to protect the Roman Bridge.”

Cabinet member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said: “The public exhibition is a follow on from the successful open day and call for historic information held in February this year. More than 150 people came along to provide information to the project team, and to find out how businesses and householders can protect their properties against possible flood risk.”

“The fact that Musselburgh was flooded from a ‘1 in 200 Years Flood Event’ in 1948 highlights the risk to the town and the reason that the council is advancing this major civil engineering project under the Scottish Government’s Flood Protection Scheme Programme.”

“We hope that local residents and businesses take the opportunity to come along to this exhibition to discover more about the results of the survey works undertaken and the updated mapped areas of flood risk. I would also encourage people to give their views on the flood risk reduction options which will be displayed.”

Published: Wednesday, 24th July 2019