RESIDENTS and visitors to a Scottish village will be asked to stop removing driftwood from a beach near the River Spey, as the practice is thought to be contributing to flooding.

Shona Morrison, councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde in Kingston, brought the issue up at a meeting of the economic development committee this week.

She asked if taking timber from the shore would impact the structure of the shingle bank. Morrison said: “There’s been a surge in households with wood burning stoves.

“A lot of the timber and driftwood previously scattered around the beach perhaps forms structure in the shingle. And those areas have been pretty much been picked clean.”

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Senior engineer Will Burnish told the meeting the practice had a detrimental impact.

He said: “We will be looking at the importance … of not removing driftwood, and ensuring it stays in that area.”

Burnish added the move would be carried out as part of a community engagement programme relating to coastal erosion - and people would also be encouraged not to take pebbles away either.

At the meeting on Tuesday, councillors agreed for coastal protection work to go ahead at Kingston. A successful bid to the Scottish Government's coastal change adaptation fund of £75,600 will cover the costs.

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Erosion between Lein car park and the village has increased significantly over the last 18 months and it has prompted the need for action.

Loss along the shoreline has also exposed material from an old demolished concrete works and sharp objects from it are causing a health and safety risk.

Debris is also spilling into a site of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation.

Moray Council is finding it difficult to return £80,000 to the estates of deceased health and social care clients. Not addressing the issue could leave Moray Council open to prosecution.

The change in erosion rates – around two meters a year – has triggered the coastal adaptation plan for the village as it places the council owned car park and amenity space at risk.

Kingston is on the west bank of the River Spey, and sits behind a small tidal lagoon.

Work involves installing a new shingle ridge along the edge of the coastline. It will go from the west side of car park to the east end of the green space tying back into the main ridge at the lagoon.

Shingle for the work will be sourced from within the site of special scientific interest.