AN 'ILLEGAL' drainage system installed in Dalgety Bay in the 1980s has led to an impasse in tackling flooding problems today.

For years, residents in Lade Braes have been affected by rainwater flowing downhill from Longhill Park and into their gardens and homes.

Fife Council set aside £50,000 to tackle the problem but haven't been able to agree a way forward with Scottish Water, or had any help from landowner Barratt Homes.

At the South and West Fife area committee yesterday (Wednesday), Councillor Sarah Neal said: "There are three elderly widows who are living in a state of distress.

"Their families don't live near and are trying to deal with this from afar, and they've spent so much of their own savings trying to mitigate the damage to their properties.

"We have an impasse but how long is it going to last?"

Cllr Dave Dempsey, who has been raising the issue since April 2019, said: "This doesn't just affect two or three houses, the numbers are well into double figures.

"And it's different from the dramatic flooding, where somewhere gets a lot of water and then it goes away.

"This is insidious, it's near permanent that gardens are waterlogged and the flooding seeps into houses."

Dr Rick Haynes, the council's lead consultant on flooding, said he had "no definitive answers" about what the solution would be and when it would be delivered but discussions were continuing with Scottish Water to find a way forward.

He explained that Barratt Homes created Longhill Park in the 1980s and retained ownership, with an agreement that Fife Council would maintain it.

However, the drainage system put in place then – which councillors were told shouldn't have been allowed – now does not work properly, with Scottish Water saying a lack of maintenance on the part of the council had exacerbated the problems.

Dr Haynes claimed the council had tried on a number of occasions to speak to Barratt Homes but said they had never received any response.

Dawn Lochhead, a flood risk manager with Scottish Water, said: "The legislation that's in place now is the same as it was in the 1980s and sets out what is allowed to be connected to the public sewer.

"It clearly states that land drainage is not allowed to be connected to a public sewer.

"A decision has been made, by whatever party back in the 1980s, to allow that to happen."

She added: "It's not the computer saying no, it's the legislation saying no.

"It is illegal for Scottish Water to knowingly permit a connection of land drainage to the public sewer. That is the point of the impasse."

She said that even if they could allow a new land drainage system from the park, the size and scale would be greater than the original scheme and could increase the risk of flooding and make the situation worse.

There was sympathy for the residents but Ms Lochhead explained: "I deal with customers on a daily basis who are being flooded because somebody, or some of our predecessors, have allowed this type of connection into the public network. So there is a reticence to just allow a connection that's been there previously."

Cllr Dempsey said: "You've told us you know you will find a solution but you have no idea what it is. If you don't know what it is, how do you know it exists?"

Dr Haynes replied: "There's always a solution but there are various challenges to overcome to deliver a solution. At the moment, it's a legislative challenge."