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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 15:23 GMT
Village flood defences questioned
Rescuers talk to a resident - Gerrold Kuijpers
Rescuers talk to a resident during the peak of the flooding
Angry residents in a Perth and Kinross village have questioned why a new flood prevention scheme in the area failed its first proper test.

At least 40 people had to leave their homes in Milnathort on Wednesday night after the River Queich burst its banks.

As the clear-up began, the designers of the 500,000 flood prevention scheme, completed three months ago, were called in to investigate the breaches.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in many other areas of Scotland.

Emergency services launched a rescue to save about 20 people trapped in farmhouses near Port of Menteith in Stirlingshire.

The residents - thought to include an 87-year-old woman with a heart condition, along with children and adults in wheelchairs - became stuck on the upper floors after the River Forth burst its banks, flooding acres of farmland.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency also issued more than 10 severe flood warnings for waterways around Scotland.

These flood defence schemes should be working
Rhona Brankin
Deputy Environment Minister

About 60 homes in the Riverside area of Stirling were evacuated and a rest centre was set up at the city's Albert Halls for families unable to return home.

In Milnathort, Tayside Fire and Rescue Service said it acted to deal with a "threat to life" and began a rescue operation as water surged into residents' homes.

Many more were forced out later as power was cut to the central part of the village.

As the flood water receded on Thursday morning, local people questioned the ability of the village flood defence scheme, which was built following floods in the area 13 years ago, to cope with future problems.

'Sigh of relief'

Perth and Kinross Council said the scheme's designers were assisting the post-flood investigation, but added that it would be premature to speculate about the cause.

Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin said she would seek information from local authorities on the effectiveness of flood prevention schemes in Scotland.

Councillor Willie Robertson said the flooding had a "traumatic" effect on Milnathort.

He said: "In a community like this, threat of flooding is always at the back of your mind and when the flood prevention scheme went in this summer, people breathed a sigh of relief.

"The paint is not even dry and it's not done the job it's been intended to."

Mr Robertson said there would now have to be a serious investigation into why the scheme had "patently failed".

Milnathort flood scene
A new flood prevention scheme was introduced in Milnathort

"We should be taking the goods back to the shop and saying 'this doesn't work'," he told BBC Scotland.

Resident Liz Campbell said work on the scheme had caused weeks of disruption in the village, including the closure of the car park.

"They spent loads of money and it hasn't done any good," she said.

Ms Brankin said the Scottish Executive, which provides 80% of the funding for flood prevention schemes, would keep the situation under review.

"These flood defence schemes should be working. Having said that, this has been a very exceptional night," she went on.

"My understanding is that there should be no need to review these schemes, but in the light of what's happened, clearly we'll look at all the information."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch more about the flooding



SEE ALSO
Raft rescue as floodwaters rise
14 Dec 06 |  Tayside and Central
In pictures: Highland flooding
14 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Village evacuated amid flooding
14 Dec 06 |  Tayside and Central
Perthshire flood 'danger' warning
13 Dec 06 |  Tayside and Central
Pupils evacuated as river floods
13 Dec 06 |  Highlands and Islands
South west remains on flood alert
13 Dec 06 |  South of Scotland

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