Saltire judges impressed with collaboration

editorial image

The Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme has received a prestigious national engineering award from the Saltire Society.

The £32.1 million project, which provides protection to around 600 homes and businesses from major flood events, won the Environmental Award at the Saltire Civil Engineering Awards on Tuesday.

The awards panel were impressed with the multi-agency collaborative working which ensured multiple benefits were provided by the scheme, which has already protected properties from flooding on six separate occasions.

Notable features include an intelligent water management system at St Mary’s Loch which can store the equivalent of 620 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, and which helped protect properties during storms Desmond and Frank in December 2015.

A total of 6,000 metres of footpaths and parks have been provided in the area, as well as the five footbridges which allow walkers and cyclists to explore the countryside.

Two kilometres of flood defences have been created between the Ettrick Water and the Riverside recreational and industrial areas.

More than 150 people worked on the scheme at its peak, with around half being Borders residents. Main contractor R.J. McLeod estimates that business worth £6m was generated for the local economy during construction.

In addition, the scheme was finished on time and within budget, having been completed in December last year.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “It is fantastic that the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme has been recognised by the Saltire Awards, which celebrate outstanding engineering achievements in Scotland.

“The scheme has already provided environmental, economic and social benefits for the local community, and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

“The council now has a track record of delivering successful flood protection schemes, with projects in Galashiels, Jedburgh and Selkirk completed.

“We are now taking forward the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme with the aim of providing similar protection and benefits to its residents and businesses.”

Conor Price, senior project manager, said: “A key objective of this scheme from the beginning was to provide an environmentally acceptable and sustainable scheme.

“Definitive proof of its flood protection capabilities was achieved in December 2015 when it protected Selkirk from flooding during Storm Frank. This environmental award from the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) in partnership with the Saltire Society now provides an independent confirmation of the environmental achievements of this major civil engineering project.

“On behalf of the council, the people of Selkirk, and the many organisations and individuals that worked on the project and within the project team over the past decade, we are delighted with this award.”