AN angry councillor told Fife Council officers "we were lucky we didn't lose lives in Cardenden" during the devastating floods in late summer.

More than 20 homes were badly damaged after storms in August left parts of the village under water and Linda Erskine said the response was "just not good enough".

The Labour councillor for Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty hit out during a discussion about flooding at last week's policy and co-ordination committee.

She said: "I know it's a small team and I'm not criticising them or the guys that were running about like headless chickens across Fife giving out sandbags, as they were absolutely magnificent, but I think our response was just not good enough.

"We must try harder.

"If it was a report card it would be getting a D-minus in my opinion because we were lucky we didn't lose lives in Cardenden."

The thunderstorm that struck on August 11-12, and more torrential rain on August 25, led to 239 flooding 'events' being recorded, with the council deploying 129 personnel, 84 vehicles and approximately 4,300 sandbags in response.

Derek Crowe, senior manager in roads and transportation, told councillors: "In short it was one of the worst and most intense storms ever to be recorded and well beyond the capacity of our systems and, equally, the level of resources we have to deploy to such incidents.

"Are we prepared for such things? I would say we are. We have flood emergency procedures and that includes many preparatory and mitigating steps that we take to try and prevent the worst effects of a storm.

"They were all applied on this occasion, the flood pods were checked and filled, trash screens and trouble spots were cleared and watercourses checked – it really didn't have a great deal of effect as the storm was just so serious."

However, Cllr Erskine said: "In your presentation you said we were prepared. Seriously?

"Because I will tell you what, nobody in Cardenden believed there was any preparation.

"You're saying you're going to take a proactive approach with gully clearing rather than reactive?

"It still hasn't commenced because the report identifies a property in Dundonald Park and every time it rains they need sandbags.

"I was up there a couple of days ago and the gully was overflowing, in fact all the gullies in the village were overflowing."

In September the council announced a £2 million project to replace the bridge over the Den Burn, which should help to tackle flooding in Cardenden, although work won't start until 2024.

Mr Crowe said: "It was a bridge strengthening scheme originally, rather than a bridge replacement, but linked with the flooding we had at the Den Burn we looked at the project again.

"The study identified there was a limited span and capacity could be improved through a redesign that would improve the flow of the burn and reduce the flooding risk."

However he said they only had so much money to carry out bridge work and there were higher priorities, such as the £3.15m replacement of the crumbling Broad Street railway bridge in Cowdenbeath.

He added: "It's not that we don't want to do it straightaway, the issue is that even if someone said 'Do the bridge now', at minimum to do a structure like that over a burn, you're talking about two years before it could be delivered in the very best of times."

There is also £325,000 for work across the Kingdom, including follow-up investigations, mitigation measures and gully clearing, but the list of jobs was long and "one we cannot completely tackle".

Councillors agreed that local members and other partners should help officers to compile a register of all flooding incidents in Fife and all available funding for tackling flooding issues should be identified.

A report will also be prepared on the council-wide response to such events.