Hopes have been raised that action may finally be taken to reduce the risk of flooding in Garmouth.
Fears about water pouring into the village from the River Spey have been a worry for residents for years but have grown in recent months.
It is understood that an embankment slightly upstream from the community burst in December, which has diverted water closer to homes.
Now Moray Council has confirmed a six-month study has been launched to examine how the River Spey is impacting on a nearby burn.
Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor David Bremner explained he had hopes action to address flooding concerns in Garmouth would finally be addressed.
‘River bank has changed dramatically’
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has also met with residents to examine the changing situation in the village.
He said: “The recent weather late last month inflicted further damage on land adjacent to the Spey and seeing it for myself really brought home the ongoing threat to the village.
“It’s quite something to visit a river bank that has changed dramatically in recent years and again in recent months, parts of which have been washed away by the power of the river.
“It’s clear that we need to understand the factors behind the river changing course because living alongside Scotland’s fastest flowing river is one thing, but land use and land management further upstream are also factors that influence the river’s behaviour.”
Garmouth residents face flooding threat
Repeated floods in December led to the river pouring through village streets while residents put sandbags outside front doors to protect their homes.
Pumps were also deployed in an attempt to keep the muddy water at bay.
The river could be seen pouring across fields and surrounding Ross House, which stood several hundred yards from the Spey just 15 years ago. The building has now been abandoned due to the flooding risk.
Recent incidents have led to the village golf course becoming submerged with members left to clear debris left behind by the torrents.
Residents believe the recent changes have led to river bursting its banks at lower levels – causing more water to spill over land more frequently.
Fears action to address flooding can no longer be put off
Moray Council has confirmed a recent visit to the village has led to it reviewing the warning levels it uses with data received from Sepa.
Mr Bremner explained it appeared as though authorities were now taking the situation in Garmouth more seriously after years of inaction.
He said: “It is good to see that finally all the relevant parties like the Crown Estate, Sepa and the council are working together on it.
“There seems to be a consensus on it now that something needs to be done and something will get done.
“Hopefully it happens quite soon because it has been getting put off for years and it can’t be put off any longer really.”
Surveys to examine changes to river at Garmouth
Moray Council has confirmed specialists visited Garmouth last month to examine the risk of flooding to determine whether any action can be taken to address the hopes of locals.
A spokeswoman said: “The next step is to review the information we already have from topographical surveys between the River Spey and Garmouth village, so we can better understand how the water is flowing at different flood levels.
“This is a significant piece of work which could take up to six months.
“Once the survey is complete, we can review the options which could reduce the interaction of the Black Burn and the River Spey. While we’re not responsible for the maintenance of riverbanks we have, and will continue to work closely with the Crown Estate to support any works they undertake.”