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Barrier boss questions £15m flood scheme

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By Rod Edgar
Barrier boss questions £15m flood scheme

A CONTROVERSIAL £15 million flooding and regeneration scheme for Whitesands has been voted through unanimously as the ‘optimal solution’.

CAMPAIGN FIGHTBACK . . . a new petition opposing council plans for Whitesands has been launched this week, along with a Facebook protest group launched on Sunday and now with more than 2500 members. Pictured, left to right: campaigners David Slater, Doreen Johnston, Niall Cowan and Julie Hollis

Hailing the outcome, economy, environment and infrastructure committee chairman Councillor Colin Smyth said: “The unanimous support from councillors for the raised walkway design reflects the growing consensus that which not only protects the Whitesands from flooding, but also regenerates the area.”
Pouring scorn on an alternative, Councillor Smyth said: “A lot has been said in recent months about the so-called rising barrier alternative but understandably it received no support from any councillor.”
He says such a proposal would have cost £18-26 million, closed riverside car parking for two years, and would have meant brick walls on both river banks ranging from one to three metres high, with three metre high poles every ten metres.
But UK Flood Barriers CEO Frank Kelly is angry at the councillor’s statements, calling them ‘totally incorrect’.
Having drafted a design for Dumfries employing the system his company has installed
at Cockermouth, he says the self-rising barrier could be set into the river channel itself, without even a temporary impact on parking.

He said: “There’ll be no walls, no three metre posts sticking up, and there’s no way it’d be £18 million to £26 million. I said £9 million, and it’s £9 million.”
Mr Kelly says another company has confirmed to him it supplied the council with information on barriers, but said: “They’ve never actually put one in.”
Questioning the storage and deployment of the demountable glass barriers, he warns of a 60 per cent failure rate due to the manual intervention, adding: “When glass reaches its stress point it shatters, so why would you use it in flood defence?”

Front, Lockerbie and Lochmaben

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