WATCH: Selkirk flood defences hold firm

The full benefit of the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme was there for all to see as torrential rain created havoc in other Borders towns last week.

However, as the scheme is only half completed, workers had to pitch in day and night from Thursday through to Sunday, digging channels and diverting water away from properties as the Long Philip Burn was in full flow.

Conor Price, Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme project manager, said: “I am extremely proud of the work of staff on the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme throughout the extreme weather which hit the town and the Borders last week.

“We estimate that on Thursday evening there was almost twice the amount of water in the Long Philip Burn compared with the capacity of the burn before the scheme’s construction commenced.

“At this level, some properties in the Bannerfield came close to flooding, however, the flood scheme’s operatives were on hand to dig a channel and divert water away from the properties at Philip View.

“The completed scheme will increase the channel capacity over twice as much again.”

As the rain continued to fall over the next two days, the workers turned around and concentrated on ensuring the new flood defences on the banks of the Ettrick were sound.

Mr Price said: “On Friday and Saturday night the flood risk was from the Ettrick Water and again the partially-completed scheme defences held firm and ensured that there was no real risk of flooding to the properties at Ettrickhaugh Road, Bannerfield and Riverside.

“The scheme’s team temporarily closed gaps in the new riverside walls on Friday, and constructed around 100m of temporary earth embankment at a low point adjacent to Murray Place on Saturday afternoon.

“This temporary defence was not tested in the end, but was worth the effort due to the severity of the rainfall over the weekend.

“At St Mary’s Loch, the new Intelligent Water Management System which has been operational since the end of September functioned as intended.

“It helped reduce the flood risk through Selkirk and at Lindean.

“It is also worth re-iterating the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme is only at the halfway stage, and when completed it will provide flood protection to 595 properties in Selkirk against a major flood event – including approximately 120 businesses employing around 1,500 people.

“Our team worked day and night to ensure the town was protected from Thursday to Sunday, and I thank them for all their efforts.”