Prevention measures costing up to £275,000 have been agreed in principle for a Moray village that has been hit by flooding 11 times in the last 12 months.
Garmouth has experienced problems with flooding from the Spey for many years, but the number of events has increased rapidly because of erosion to the river bank.
Members at a meeting of the full Moray Council this week agreed to take forward two of six options put before them to stop flooding in the village.
The first part is to place a low-level rock armour bund at the disused railway embankment at a cost of up to £125,000.
In addition, planting willow and burying fallen trees with their root balls exposes on land between the river and the village will create a natural barrier when the river overtops.
This is expected to cost up to £150,000.
However, there is as yet no money set aside to finance the work.
SNP councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde David Bremner said: “It’s not an option to do nothing, we can’t go down that route.
“We can’t just choose one of these options. The low level bund and the flood management work together for a more effective solution, so we need to do at least both of those.”
He advocated looking into the possibility of using concrete tetrapods used to prevent erosion along the river bank.
Tetrapods are cast in moulds and once purchased the system could be used for other flood-hit areas.
Conservative councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde Marc Macrae said: “It’s a fickle beast the River Spey.
“There’s been a long history of flooding in Garmouth. Up until 2007 there was one flood event every six years, that went up to one event every year or so.
“But in the last 12 months Garmouth has been flooded 11 times. That’s something we can’t ignore.
“Residents have hardly dried their homes then it’s flooded again and again. Can we really sit back and expect these households to be flooded 11 times in 12 months?”
Consultancy manager Debbie Halliday told the meeting it was the council’s policy only to deliver schemes in the flood risk management plan – which Garmouth is not – as part of the authority’s aim to reach financial stability.
River Spey is a ‘fickle beast’
Flooding impacts on 10 properties in Garmouth, which has a population of around 500.
Members agreed in principle to progressing the two options and look at the feasibility of using tetrapods along with the associated costs and risks, with a further report coming back before councillors.