Gardenstown landslip - media statements

View Gardenstown landslip media statements in reverse time order.

8th March 2018 - Will the fresh slip at Gardenstown be cleared in time for the planned controlled openings?

A temporary road opening planned for Gardenstown this weekend cannot go ahead following the movement of further material on Tuesday (6th March).

While the council understands this will cause inconvenience, the risk posed by the unstable slope above the road is too great.

The debris left on the closed section of road following further movement of the slip on Tuesday cannot yet be completely cleared.

Assessment has shown that this cannot take place until materials above the road have been contained.

The fresh movement has exposed many new cracks at the top of the landslip, as well as displacing large rocks within the slip.

Until the area is physically contained, in the interest of safety the council cannot undertake any works to clear soil, rock and concrete blocks from the foot of the landslide.

It is currently posing a significant risk of further movement, endangering any road users, anyone working on the road and nearby houses.

The debris will only be cleared when it is safe to do so, avoiding the slippage of further material up the slope, which could potentially also prolong the situation.

Work to install netting and to build a new temporary wall to secure the landslip material will begin as soon as it is safe to do so.

This will then allow the potential for reopening the closed section of road beneath the landslip on a temporary, supervised basis.

Banff and Buchan Roads Manager, Derek Murray, said: "Clearly this is a very complex situation, but at the heart of all our decisions is safety."

"We are aware of the local desire to see the road reopen as soon as possible and we too want things to progress as quickly as possible."

"We are working with our contractor to make the working area safe to allow debris clearance and other work to take place."

"At this point we can't give a definitive date on which future road reopenings will take place, but we are working to make this happen as soon as possible."

"We will continue to provide regular updates as the operation to deal with this landslip continues."

Waste containers at Seatown, Gardenstown were last emptied on23rd  February and a collection was missed due to the wintry weather.

Since the further deterioration of the landslip, access to empty communal waste containers has not been possible.

Teams are on standby to empty them at the earliest opportunity as soon as the road is reopened at all.

The site is currently clear of refuse and all waste is contained within the bins so there should be no risk of attracting vermin.

Residents who have their own bins at Seatown will have them emptied at the same time as the communal bins.

Alternative containers at Main Street should be used where possible - collections of these will be more frequent to reflect increased use.

A public drop in session is being held in Gardenstown next week in connection with the landslip.

It will be a chance to hear the latest information from the geotechnical investigation being carried out by the council's contractor over the last couple of weeks.

The investigation is due to finish on site on Thursday, 15th March.

Representatives from the Banff and Buchan Area Manager's team, the roads service and the council's consulting engineers will attend.

They will provide updates on ongoing geotechnical investigations, continuing traffic management arrangements and possible design options for solutions.

The drop in session will take place at the Dreel Hall on Friday, 16th March from 9am-8pm.

7th March 2018 - Has the landslip moved anymore overnight? Have people been evacuated?

We have had engineers on site through the night monitoring the landslip at Gardenstown and despite heavy rain there has been no obvious significant deterioration.

A temporary wall built by us to contain falling debris from the initial slip in November has collapsed under the weight of loose material and we have had to extend the cordon around the closed road in the interest of safety.

Our geotechnical consultants, currently working on site to look at long term solutions, will give us an updated expert view on the risk being posed to allow us to take further decisions.

This will include whether or not the temporary road openings which have been taking place will still go ahead.

Last night three households were offered advice in terms of their safety and made arrangements to stay elsewhere for the evening - we will also share our technical advice with them to allow them to consider their next steps.

We are also continuing to ensure the emergency services are informed in terms of any access they might require to the village.

Roads colleagues have been carrying out minor maintenance around the village where they can this morning, unblocking gullies where necessary and allowing excess water to drain away as much as possible.

6th March 2018 - We've heard there's been further movement in the slope due to ongoing bad weather, what is the position?

We have been aware today of continued movement in the existing landslip at Gardenstown, which is being monitored as part of the investigatory works.

An engineer has been on site this evening and heavy rain throughout today has caused more material to move and a partial collapse of a temporary retaining wall - as a result we have warned nearby households of the situation.

We will continue to monitor the landslip and take any additional action necessary. We will have a fuller picture of the situation in daylight hours.

Snow and rain continue to affect the whole region, with localised issues including flooding of some smaller watercourses and water on the roads. Sandbags have been made available outside Council roads depots.

As in recent days, people should take care if they intend to travel around the area and drive to the conditions.

22nd February 2018 - What is the current situation with regard to work in Gardenstown?

The council is very aware of the disruption being faced by the local community of Gardenstown. We have and will continue to provide regular updates on progress to residents, visitors, and councillors, including some very technical detail about the steps being taken to address the land instability. This has taken account of a range of matters including public safety, work with partners, and consideration of all the plans and risks on site.

We are also liaising with the landowner to focus on their responsibilities. Their continued involvement is essential in this process and in finding a long-term solution.

Alongside keeping the community updated on a regular basis, the primary focus for officers is on tackling the issues and finding solutions to get the road open safely and responsibly as soon as possible. We understand that this is what the community want to see – a pace of progress towards a long-term solution.

To support the effective delivery of council services, there is a clear distinction on the roles and responsibilities between councillors and officers.

15th February 2018 - Is the cost of manning gates at Gardenstown the reason Harbour Road isn't being opened more regularly? And what was the outcome of the emergency motion regarding Gardenstown at the Banff and Buchan Area Committee yesterday?

The roads team is considering what will be required to meet the terms of the Emergency Motion agreed by the Area Committee on Tuesday. However, our contractor has started ground investigatory (GI) works and these will take around 3 weeks to complete. The contractor will be on site Monday through to Friday lunchtime, during which time the road will have to remain closed. We will operate supervised openings between 1pm and 4pm on Fridays and between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays. These openings will come into effect from next Friday (Feb 23). There was a supervised opening today between 9am and 4pm. We're also considering supervised openings on Sundays during the period of GI work.

It's too soon to tell at this stage, how often we will be able to open the road once the GI works have been completed, or whether or not it can be opened in unsupervised conditions. There are practical difficulties in delivering more extensive opening periods but we will know more once the GI works have finished.

In the meantime, the roads team will continue to provide weekly updates to the Community.

14th February 2018 - What is the current situation at Gardenstown, has work started on investigating the landslip?

Yes, the contractor is now on site and has started working. They mobilised their staff and plant on Monday and our roads team had a pre-start meeting with them at the site yesterday. Work has started today, more detail on this can be found in our press release. There will be a supervised road opening tomorrow.

12th February 2018 - Is work starting at Gardenstown today?

The contractor is mobilising staff and plant today, work is due to start tomorrow or Wednesday.

9th February 2018 - Who are the contractors undertaking investigations at Gardenstown?

BAM Ritchies.

7th February 2018 - Is there a cost for gates going up at Gardenstown, when will they be erected and how long will they be up for? Are they necessary?

The Roads Service will be installing gates at either end of the closure, replacing the current concrete blocks, which require a JCB to move when opening/closing the road. Clearly this will be a more efficient arrangement going forward.

Keys will be offered to the Emergency Services in order that they may gain vehicular access in an emergency situation. It will be for them to assess the safety of the slope should they wish to pass through.

The measures being taken are directly related to the safety of road users while investigations into a long term solution continue. You should also be aware there will be regular controlled openings of the road, with the latest one coming up tomorrow (Thursday) from 9am – 4pm, safety allowing.

In terms of costs for the gates and timescales, these are not available as yet – it will take a little more time to work things out. We are communicating directly with residents.

Regarding householders living adjacent to the landslip, it is a matter for them as to whether they continue to live in their properties – officers have given advice, but the council has no powers to ask them to leave.

5th February 2018 - Are we installing gates at Gardenstown which will limit access?

The Roads Service will be installing gates at either end of the closure, replacing the current concrete blocks, which require a JCB to move when opening/closing the road. Clearly this will be a more efficient arrangement going forward.

Keys will be offered to the Emergency Services in order that they may gain vehicular access in an emergency situation. It will be for them to assess the safety of the slope should they wish to pass through.

The measures being taken are directly related to the safety of road users while investigations into a long term solution continue. You should also be aware there will be regular controlled openings of the road, with the latest one coming up on Thursday from 9am – 4pm, safety allowing.

1st February 2018 - What measures are being looked at to allow volunteers to open and close the road as required?

We are looking at ways in which volunteers can be involved with supervised openings, however Aberdeenshire Council will still have a presence at any road opening to ensure users remain safe while on the road.

1st February 2018 - Why there was a “categoric rejection” towards allowing people to use the road at their own risk?

In the interest of the safety of residents and road users, we will not support allowing people to use of the road at their own risk. Supervised openings are the most suitable option to use at the moment to ensure the safety of those using the road.

1st February 2018 - Is there no timescale on the design of a permanent solution?

There is no specific date set for having a permanent solution in place yet, but we would like this be as soon as possible. We are working closely with geotechnical engineers who will be progressing with ground investigations, these are required to characterise the ground conditions at the site and establish geotechnical parameters to be used in the design of a permanent solution. Once those investigations are complete we will have a better idea of the scope of work required to put a long term solution in place and the timescales needed to complete that work.

In the meantime, we will continue to communicate with residents about supervised openings of the road and of progress with regards to the opening the road permanently.

18th January 2018 - What happened at the public meeting last night and what was decided?

We listened to the community last night in terms of their views on future road opening times. At the end of the meeting the public were asked to complete a form outlining their preferred days and times for controlled openings of Harbour Road.

We are still collating responses on preferred days and times. The Community Council have passed on the form to those who couldn’t attend last night.

Once we have received responses we will review and advise the community in due course.

11th January 2018 -  What is happening at next week's public meeting in Gardenstown?

The meeting is being held so that we can consult with residents on what the most suitable times for supervised openings of Harbour Road are and to discuss our proposals for moving forward.
We would encourage anyone who is interested to attend the meeting next week.

8th January 2018 - What is the latest update on the situation at Harbour Road, Gardenstown?

Following an assessment of the landslip and considering the safety of road users, we believe there is too much unstable material to allow the road to be re-opened without restrictions.

Therefore the road will remain closed with controlled openings taking place one or two times per week, subject to favourable weather conditions. We will consult with the community regarding the most suitable days/times for controlled openings to ensure the impact of this closure is minimised.

A controlled opening will take place on Thursday, January 11 between from 9:30 until 15:00.

In the meantime, work is progressing to develop a permanent solution for measures required to mitigate the effects of the recent landslip to enable permanent unrestricted use of the road by vehicles and non-motorised users.

Once we have a decision on a programme for future controlled openings, we will advise accordingly.

2nd January 2018 - What is the latest situation at Harbour Road Gardenstown?

The slope was inspected this morning and while there had been further deterioration since Sunday, December 31 it was deemed safe to allow traffic to pass under supervision. The road was therefore open between 10am and 2pm today to allow vehicles to be moved uphill from the Harbour and Seatown area.

Unfortunately, material continues to slip from the slope and with rain forecast overnight, it is likely that this will continue. Currently there is no plan to open the road tomorrow (Wednesday). However, it will be inspected to consider if it would be appropriate to undertake a controlled opening on Thursday. We are aware that this is the normal day for delivery of coal, logs etc., and for residential waste collections. If possible we will open the road to allow these services to be provided.

However, we cannot guarantee this will happen, and a decision will be made following a site assessment on Thursday morning to determine if conditions will allow. Visit twitter for the latest information about roads in Aberdeenshire or if you have any issues please call 03456 08 12 05.

9th December 2017 - What is happening at Harbour Road in Gardenstown?

Following a minor landslip in Gardenstown a few weeks ago, work was due to be carried out in the area between the New Church and Harbour Road from Monday, December 4.

Following recent strong winds and heavy rain, it was considered too dangerous for this work to proceed with the road open. As such we have had to temporarily close it to traffic and pedestrians.

This has been done in partnership with the emergency service so we can ensure access for them if required.
We appreciate the impact on residents and businesses in Main Street at a time when parking in the village is limited and are grateful for the community's patience. Every effort will be made to reopen the road as soon as possible.

7th December 2017 - Is there an update on the situation at Gardenstown?

We have a team back on site at Gardenstown today to carry out additional works to help protect nearby properties. We can’t carry out further remedial works on the steep embankment today or tomorrow due to poor ground conditions and severe weather but we will reassess conditions on Monday and carry out further work to ensure the road is safe to use as quickly as possible.

Alternative pedestrian access is available and we will continue to manage a safe exit for any residents wishing to move their vehicles out during daylight hours today. We’ve also met with emergency services to prepare a contingency plan in the event they require access to the village. We’ve put waiting restrictions in place on the main street to help with this.

Help us improve