Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 09:36 UK

Dam flood fear sparks evacuation

Dam
Drivers were warned to stay away from the area

The evacuation of residents at several farms in Renfrewshire has begun after heavy weekend rain put huge strain on the walls of a reservoir.

Environment chiefs issued a warning that the integrity of the dam, near Lochwinnoch, had been affected.

Concerns were raised that a burst would cause water to sweep down the nearby Maich Burn and flood homes.

Engineers have been controlling the release of excess water in a bid to take pressure off the structure.

The A760 Lochwinnoch to Kilbirnie road was closed as a precaution and drivers and pedestrians were warned to stay away from the area.

Diarmid McArthur, who lives two fields away from the Maich Burn, near Ladyland Castle, moved into a nearby guest house with his wife and two daughters after the police came to his door.

A breach of the dam could "endanger life", police have said

He told BBC Scotland: "It's really a surreal situation. One minute you're playing with your daughters - we'd cut the grass, we'd been weeding - and the next minute they're saying you need to leave your house.

"It's not the kind of thing you normally expect."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said there was a risk of the sudden release of water stored behind the dam.

It added: "Should there be a significant release of water, there will be a rapid increase in the volume, depth and velocity of water in the Maich Water channel.

"There is therefore a risk of flooding and erosion of the channel."


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SEE ALSO
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