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Perth flooding: Council claims ‘no time’ to close floodgates despite warning TWO DAYS earlier

The floodgate at the North Inch was left open, leading to the area becoming flooded.

Flooding at the North Inch in Perth.
The floodgates at the North Inch were not closed in time to prevent flooding. Image: Supplied

Perth and Kinross Council claims a “rapid and near unprecedented rise” in the Tay’s water level prevented it from closing the North Inch floodgates over the weekend.

The Met Office issued an amber weather warning on Friday lunchtime covering a large part of Perthshire – including Perth city centre – to be in place until 6am on Sunday.

On Sunday this was extended until 7pm as well as a ‘danger to life warning’, following a severe deluge of rainfall affecting the city centre and the wider area.

Water level of the River Tay very high near viewpoint.
People on the Tay viewin pPlatform before it was closed on Sunday. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Despite the warning, the floodgate was not shut at the North Inch in time to prevent flooding.

Properties along the North Inch area have reportedly flooded, and a ‘severe risk’ of flooding remains in place in the area

Bell’s Sports Centre, located across from the North Inch, has remained shut since Sunday as a result of the water.

Floodgates at the South Inch, as well as Perth Harbour and Bridgend, were closed on Saturday.

After Perth was hit by flooding in September, the council said: “The floodgates should always be closed when the Met Office issues a yellow weather warning and we will take steps to ensure this happens in future.”

When asked by The Courier why this pledge was not followed over the weekend, the council refused to comment.

Perth council claims rain came too late to close floodgates

Perth and Kinross Council says it intends to review its response to the latest incident.

A spokesperson said: “We understand how distressing flooding events are for people and this weekend has been extremely challenging for many people.

“The rainfall overnight on Saturday led to a rapid and near unprecedented rise in water levels of the Tay which led to the North Inch being flooded before gates could be closed.

Bell's Sports Centre in Perth flooded.
Bell’s Sports Centre on the North Inch has been closed due to flooding. Image: Supplied

“According to Sepa, water levels rose to 4.9m on Sunday morning, near the record level of 4.93 metres recorded 30 years ago, and more than double the level it was at 24 hours earlier.

“We will be reviewing our response to the incident to see what can be learned for future events.

“We will also be speaking to residents to hear about their experiences to better understand what happened and the impact on them.”

Despite the water level going down, properties between the North Inch and the Friarton Bridge remain at a ‘severe risk’ of flooding.

Residents who live near the North Inch are especially at risk of flooding according to Sepa.

Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart says he has been out across the city speaking to those affected.

He says: “I’ve been all over the city today speaking to people impacted by the flooding.

“There is real unhappiness, disappointment and upset about what’s happened with the flood defences around Perth.

“I’ve also discussed this issue with the council to try and find an explanation as to what happened with the closing of flood gates.

“My understanding is an investigation is going to be carried out to find out exactly what happened and I support that.

“Perth has to live cheek-by-jowl with the biggest river system in the whole of the UK but we have got flood defences which should be put in place.

“I’m very disappointed but hope we will find answers.”

A basement property at Rose Terrace in Perth has flooded.
A basement property on Rose Terrace near the North Inch has flooded. Image: Supplied

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says a “detailed explanation” is required of what went wrong in Perth.

In a statement, he said: “We still need a detailed explanation of what went wrong here, and what will be done to compensate those whose homes and businesses were wrecked as a consequence.

“Most residents in Perth thought they had seen the last of flooding when the council invested in the flood-defence system but this weekend has cast a very dark shadow over the local authority’s poor handling of the flood management system.”

Flood disruption continues

The council added: “We are continuing to assist residents affected by flooding across Perth and Kinross and are preparing for further rainfall on Tuesday.

“We would advise residents to remain vigilant and anyone who requires support should contact us on 01738 476476.

“There is a considerable amount of standing water across Perth and Kinross and we would remind people not to enter or play in water as it can be extremely hazardous.”

Disruption is continuing across Tayside and Fife, with an array of road closures and trains not running north or south of Perth on Monday.