A VITAL action plan designed by the government to help locals in the event of flooding was launched in the Wee County last week.

Living with Flooding, a Scottish Government initiative, was unveiled on Monday, November 11 in Menstrie by environmental secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

The plan sets out advice for people to stop or mitigate flooding and suggests simple adaptations, such as raising the height of electrical sockets, to prevent or reduce the damage a flood can cause.

The launch itself took place at the burn in Menstrie where a devastating flood took place in 2012.

Ian Eggers, of Menstrie, was severely affected by the flooding seven years ago and he joined Ms Cunningham to launch the plan.

He described the incident as "horrendous", and said: “Water was coming into the front of the houses and the back. It was a double-barrel shotgun: do you try and stop the front or the back? You didn’t have time to do both.

“We put down quilts, pillows and blankets at the doors. It didn’t help because the water was so fierce. We had 8-10 inches of water in the back garden.”

On top of the severe damage a flood can cause, Ian also highlighted the lingering affects it can have on a home.

He added: “It’s not clean water, [it’s] dirty, muddy water. It stinks.

“[No-one] thinks about the stink until the water goes away, then you’re left with the smell.

“It took about a week to get rid of it.”

Ian is optimistic about this plan and thinks it will be a real asset to those who are potentially at risk of flooding.

Asked if this report will make a real difference, he said: “I think it will. The more people that know about it, the more people involved in setting up a system to prevent flooding can only be an advantage, especially in a small area.”

Also attending Monday's event was Karen Donald, chair of the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group, who felt that input from those who have experienced flooding was crucial to the plan.

She said: “We’ve got test houses built for testing floods, but there’s nothing that replicates the real thing. It’s a real mental strain on people, a really horrible experience to go through.

“Everyone knows what water does and that it finds the easiest route in, but until you’ve listened to someone who has lived through it, there’s always going to be things they’ll tell you that you didn’t appreciate so that’s been critical.”

Ms Cunningham was also hopeful the plan will make a difference to everyone who could be affected by flooding.

She said: “I think it’s really important to people across the whole of Scotland that live in areas that are prone to flooding, like Menstrie, to understand what it is they can do to help alleviate it.

“There are things that everyone can do, whether in your home or your business property, that will help slow things down, delay the problem or even prevent it all together.”

“A lot of work and organisations have been involved in creating the plan, from insurers to those who are on the receiving end of the problems.

“People who are flooded, and in some cases flooded repeatedly, the impact on their lives is devastating.

“Flooding causes the most amount of property damage in Scotland so we have to get better at managing it.”

To view the plan, visit gov.scot/publications/living-flooding-action-plan-delivering-property-flood-resilience-scotland