Strathspey Natural Flood Defences Visited

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Peter Peacock MSP talking at Ruthven Barracks, Strathspey - overlooking the RSPB Insh Marshes reserve ( video clip, 20 secs.)

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Strathspey’s natural flood defences, Insh Marshes, were visited by Peter Peacock MSP.

A keen bird watcher and part of the Scottish Parliament’s inquiry committee into flooding problems in Scotland, Peter Peacock was keen to visit Insh Marshes, Scotland’s most important natural flood defence system.

Peter Peacock said, "I have travelled past Insh marshes hundreds upon hundreds of times over the past 30 years and its scale and shifting water levels have always been a fascination. Insh marsh plays a vital and natural role in defending the whole Spey valley from floods.

"Although many communities do face floods along the Spey, without the effect of the Insh marsh the flooding would be greater and much more frequent.

"The marsh and the flood plain are able to absorb and hold back waters that otherwise would raise the river level even higher at times of heavy rain."

The Scottish Parliament flooding inquiry is looking at the benefits of natural flood management, of which Insh marsh is the premier example.

Last week the Parliament committee visited sites in Perthshire designed to help manage today’s floods to see efforts to re-create natural flood lands that were drained many years ago.

Peter Peacock added: "Because of climate change rainfall patterns appear to be changing, with much more localised and is intense storms bringing new and frightening challenges.

"The engineering solution needed at coastal communities to defend them are hugely expensive and not always wholly effective.

"That is why many people are more and more interested in developing more natural solutions upstream of communities.

"Insh marsh is one of the best examples of this in Scotland and while it can have its own localised and damaging effect on communities, the damage downstream if this marsh did not exist would be unimaginable."

Mr Peacock was accompanied on his visit by RSPB warden Peter Moore and Andrea Johnstonove, who is the RSPB’s Freshwater Policy Officer. Insh marsh is largely owned by the RSPB is a well known and important breeding and wintering site for birds.

Peter Peacock added, "The further benefit of taking a more natural approach to helping manage flooding is that it can create or retain important habitat for wildlife.

"Insh marsh is again a good example of that.

"For me this visit combines two interests, as part of the Parliament’s flood inquiry committee and as a very amateur birdwatcher.

"I was absolutely delighted to see a Kingfisher at the visit."


5 December 2007

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