Moray beach evacuated after bridge fault

MORAY Council has closed a bridge leading to Lossiemouth East beach on the advice of structural engineers.

A ‘managed evacuation’ of the beach was held after a visual inspection of the bridge found that a number of supporting ties have cracked or split, and the bridge as a whole is leaning to one side. Under section 29 of the Building (Scotland) ACT 2003, council chiefs decided it was necessary to close the sole route from Lossiemouth to the town’s East Beach.

A spokesperson for Moray Council said, “The nice weather this week has understandably led to more people visiting the East Beach. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of people crossing the bridge has led to deterioration significant enough to warrant closure of the bridge in the interests of public safety. While the bridge is not the property of Moray Council we have a responsibility to keep the public safe around such structures.”

Surrounded by restaurants, bars and ice cream parlours, Lossiemouth’s East Beach attracts many visitors. It is popular with surfers, and thrill seekers can often be seen jumping into the water from the bridge itself and surrounding walls. It will now only be accessible from the village of Kingston.

Convener of Moray Council, councillor Shona Morrison, said, “While the legal opinion obtained by Lossiemouth Community Development Trust states that the bridge is technically ownerless, which limits the range of options available to us, Moray Council has obligations under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to ensure public safety. This includes a requirement to close any structures that appear unsafe, hence the decision was taken on Wednesday evening to close the bridge, which was the responsible course of action.

“Elected members and council officers are liaising with Lossiemouth Community Council, Lossiemouth Community Development Trust and Lossiemouth Business Association to consider future action. This is likely to require independent structural engineering advice as the evidence on which the closure decision was based cannot be relied upon for other purposes, but will be shared because of the clear public interest in this issue. These organisations will all have full details of the closure decision and evidence by close of business today.

“Meantime I would urge people to refrain from climbing on or attempting to access the bridge as we have had some reports of this since the closure. As the photographs show, it is not currently safe for this kind of activity.”