Last updated 1 November 2013

Braid Burn Flood Defence Work and its Aftermath

This major city project costing £43m affected many residents living on either side of the burn as it weaves it way down from Redford Road to Braidburn Valley Park.  The work was done to avoid the damage caused 4 times in the past 16 years when the Braid Burn burst its banks, leaving 250 homes and businesses under water at a cost of many millions of pounds.

Properties in the area are now protected and it is hoped that such damaging events will become a thing of the past. This page provides information on some of the work that has been carried out and on work that has still to be completed.

24 March 2009 - Carillion Communication Report

13 July 2009 - Flood Prevention Landscaping Design

27 July 2009 - Carillion Communication Report

Braid Burn Path:

An early problem identified on the completion of the flood defence works was the lack of drainage on the path between Colinton Mains Drive and Oxgangs Road North. The problem was caused by the banking between the path and the burn being higher than the path itself.  This area is a designated overspill flood plain for the purpose of relieving pressure on the burn where there is a risk of flooding large area.  At its lowest point, which is at the bottom of the ramp leading up to Oxgangs Road North, water was trapped on the path and unable to soak away resulting in a large puddle forming every time it rained.  Pedestrians using the path resorted to walking on the slippery slope of the embankment to get past this obstacle, risking injury in the process.

Since it was first noted we have been asking the local authority to take steps to resolve the problem. Action was eventually taken on 11th February 2012 with a small channel being dug through the banking and this has generally resolved the problem. We made representation to the local authority for the raised banking to be removed at this spot to provide a more permanent solution but have met with a lack of empathy by the council officers concerned.  Their advice is for residents to use an alternative route when it rains. (Minutes for September 2013 Meeting refers)

Local Flooding Event July 2012

The community will remember the flooding in and around Colinton Mains Park caused by the torrential rainfall over the 6th and 7th of July 2012 that put the new flood prevention measures to the test. The Community Council received no reports of property being damaged although a few householders were concerned enough about this possibility to take some preventative measures. There is pictorial evidence of one car sitting in flood water in Firrhill Drive but it is not known if it sustained any damage. Other than Firrhill Drive, the flooding appears to have been contained within the designated overspill areas within Colinton Mains Park and the open space behind Colinton Mains Green with both being turned into miniature lakes for a period of time. It was also noted that once the downpour ceased the flooding disappeared within the space of a day although the ground remained saturated for some time afterwards.

In respect of the flooding in Firrhill Drive it was noted that whilst large drains have been installed at this location, they drain into the burn through the flood embankment. As a consequence the street will remain flooded for as long as the level of the water in the burn is above the level of the sluice valves at the burn end of the drain pipes.

Overall the Community Council consider that the flood defence works did achieve its aim in that no structural properties in the area were damaged by flooding from the Brain Burn or as a consequence of its construction (as far as we are aware, if you know different, please let us know).

There are concerns that the construction of the flood walls along the Braid Burn prevent the natural drainage from ground on either side off the burn and as a result gardens in vulnerable areas are becoming permanently waterlogged. We lacked evidence in the form of residents’ written complaints to support this.  In August 2013 we circulated a questionnaire to the occupiers of those properties bordering on to the flood wall to ascertain what problems if any had been created.  Only two returns indicated problems and these were passed on to the relevant local authority department. (Minute for September 2013 Meeting refers).

Legal Issues

During the flood defence works, the contractor (Carillion) attended a number of Community Council meetings to give progress reports. At one meeting their representative spoke on the long term issue of care to ensure the flood wall was not damaged. Reference was made to the legal responsibility of residents, whose boundary included the flood wall not to do anything that may damage the integrity of the wall and example were given. In discussion it was suggested that there may be a need for a record of such responsibilities to be included in the deeds of the property thus ensuring the relevant information was passed on to new occupiers.

The Community Council have raised this with the CEC representatives and have been advised that such action is not necessary as there is no legal responsibility on the part of residents. We sought to have this confirmed in writing but the Authority have not been forthcoming. 

Oxgangs Road North 

At our meeting on the 22nd October 2012 the Secretary reported a desperate phone call from a resident in Oxgangs Road North to say her back garden is flooded yet again and the ground under their floor is now continually wet.  This has all happened since the flood prevention work was carried out.

The resident had been on to the City Council many times, but was getting no positive response, an issue we were becoming familiar with. Council officers were not following up on discussions we had had with them regarding issues arising from the flood defence work and as a result we were going round in circles with no positive action or resolution of the issues raised.

The CEC officers responsible for the flood defence works were invited to the November meeting of the Community Council where the issues contained in our report were put to them. The meeting was also attended by a local resident who considered her property was being detrimentally affected by the flood defence work. At the end of the meeting the Community Council were of the opinion that the council officers had not come prepared for the meeting, nor did they take the concerns seriously.

The Community Council are concerned that the flood defence work, in resolving one problem has created another for those residents in Oxgangs Road North who resided close to the burn. It was also clear that the relevant authorities’ failure to respond to complaints was becoming a major issue. It was agreed the Secretary should follow this up with a letter confirming the complaints raised and seeking further information on the actions of the authorities in relation to this subject. This letter and request for information were sent to the CEC Flood Schemes Project Manager on 9th December 2012.

On the 24th Dec we received the flood defence drawing but no other information. On the 27th January 2013 we sent a reminder to the CEC and asked them to review the request.

Scottish Information Commissioner Involvement

The Community Council’s request for information submitted to the the CEC on the 9th December 2012 and our reminder on 27th January 2013 failed to elicit a response.  As a consequence the Community Council agreed to an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner and this was done on 3rd March 2013.

The Scottish Information Commissioner agreed with the Community Council that the CEC had not dealt with our request correctly and required them to provide a response by 30th May 2013.  On the 14th May, the CEC responded with a refusal to provide the information on the basis of cost.  We referred this back to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the CEC's refusal was justified or not.  The Commissioner agreed with the CEC. (FOISA Decision 226/2013)

In an effort to resolve the situation, the CEC-FOI officer proposed a rewording of the request. We agreed to this on the understanding it was a clarification of the original request, however the CEC unilaterally decided to interpret it as a new request and acknowledged it on the 6th August 2013.

We did not receive any further information from the CEC within the statutory time period and on 3rd September, asked them to again review their decision not to provide the information.  No response was received to this and on 8th October, another appeal was made to the Scottish Information Commissioner.  (FOISA Decision 236/2013)

The CEC on notification, responded on the 18th October providing a letter and report covering the request and stated the information had been sent to the Community Council on 1st October.  Whilst the information had not been received by the Community Council, it was subsequently confirmed by the Commissioner's office that it had been sent.

Note: Be aware when reading the report referred to in the above paragraph that some of the pages are out of sequence.

Date of next meeting: 28 January 2019 at 6.00 pm
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