Selkirk’s new flood protection scheme has been officially opened by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.
The £31.4 million project in the Scottish town will provide protection to in the region of 600 residential homes and businesses in the case of a major flood event. The Scottish Government provided around £24 million of the £31.4 million project cost. Properties that will be protected by the new flood defence scheme include those in areas that were badly affected by flooding in both 2003 and 2004: Riverside, Bannerfield and Philiphaugh.
Features incorporated into the scheme include a water management system at St Mary’s Loch, which is able to hold the equivalent of 620 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, which enabled properties to be protected during Storm Desmond in December 2015.
Two kilometres of flood defences have also been installed between the Ettrick Water and the Riverside recreational and industrial areas, and a 90-metre footbridge has been built which will stay open during major flood events.
In excess of 150 laborers worked on the project during its peak, with main contractor RJ McLeod estimating that around £6 million of business was generated for the local economy during construction.
Construction of the scheme started in January 2015, and was completed in under two years.
Roseanna Cunningham said investing in flooding schemes was vital to protect individuals, businesses and communities from the potentially “devastating consequences” of flooding.
“This new scheme is important for Selkirk and will give lasting protection to around 600 homes against the sort of flooding that has impacted this area in the past,” she said.
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said he hoped that the completed project would make it easier for businesses in the area to get flood insurance, and encourage the creation of new jobs.