New defences have saved us six times already

Selkirk's new flood defences are already proving a success after protecting homes from flood damage six times in just over a year.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 3:27 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:40 am
Selkirk Flood Scheme is completed. A small ceremony took place today to mark the event, with Roseanna Cuningham and Councillor David Parker speaking.

During its construction and since its completion in December, the flood protection scheme has been safeguarding the town from damage caused by the bursting of the Ettrick Water’s banks.

Figures revealed by Scottish Borders Council show that first time the defences saved nearby homes from serious damage was on December 3,2015, even though the scheme was only partially built at the time.

It successfully prevented damage to houses following a period of heavy rainfall which threatened the banks of the Long Philip Burn .

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Just two days later, the defences stood up well against Storm Desmond, during which the Borders was one of the worst-affected areas in the country.

At the end of that month, on December 30, the scheme protected the town from the flooding of the Ettrick Water during Storm Frank.

That second storm of the month led to residents in Hawick and Peebles having to be evacuated from their homes.

At the time, the council also had to carry out safety assessments of roads, bridges and structures in nearby towns following the storm.

During that winter of stormy weather, the town was once again protected from flooding during January 2016.

The council logged a high flow event on the Shaw Burn associated with Storm Gertrude. At this time there was also a yellow warning for rain issued by the Met Office.

Following the scheme’s completion last year, on December 23, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued flood warning for Ettrick Valley and surrounding areas. This was the second time that Selkirk’s flood defences prevented damage caused by a high flow event at the Long Philip Burn.

The most recent incident in which the defences were successful was this year on Saturday, February 25. On this day, SEPA had also issued a flood alert for the Borders region with the council logging the year’s first high flow event on the Long Philip Burn.