South Scotland

Borders flooding fight continues one year after storms

Hawick flood damage Image copyright PA
Image caption The repairs bill for a series of storms in the Borders is nearly £5m

Scottish Borders Council has promised to keep flood protection work a "priority" for the region nearly one year on from Storm Desmond.

It caused widespread damage on the first weekend of December last year.

It was followed by a string of other storms or spells of extreme bad weather which left a repair bill of nearly £5m.

The council said it had made "significant progress" on a number of flood schemes but the time being taken has come in for criticism.

Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall said: "In Mansfield and Duke Street areas we still have infrastructure problems, sewage issues, the road is still not open.

"Businesses and residents have had enough, it's about time now, it has taken over a year and still we have road closures and people being affected."

'Never forget'

He said there were other parts of the town where the work was going well.

"I think this weekend people's thoughts will turn back to where they were last year," he said.

"Personally, I will never forget the faces of the people that were affected and had to be evacuated."

The council has outlined progress made on four different schemes in the past 12 months.

Flood protection

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption The Selkirk scheme will be officially opened next year

Almost 600 homes and businesses in Selkirk are now protected from major flood events after the defences to the £31.4m scheme were completed.

It means all the walls, embankments and river restoration works have been completed in less than two years.

Included in the major works of the scheme is a new water management system at St Mary's Loch which means it can now store the equivalent of 620 Olympic swimming pools' worth of extra water.

An official opening of the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme is expected to take place in February 2017.

Hawick scheme

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption The council said community events in Hawick were vital in order to identify any major concerns

The council said "significant work" had been carried out to take a £36.4m scheme forward in Hawick.

Community events have been held which the authority said were vital in order to identify any major concerns which might delay its implementation.

The first tranche of Scottish government funding of more than £1m has already been received.

Next year will see the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme go before councillors and the Scottish government for approval.

Flood study

Image copyright Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue
Image caption Peebles suffered serious flooding problems in late December last year

The council is facilitating the implementation of a Property Level Protection (PLP) scheme in the Tweed Green, Tweed Avenue/Walkershaugh area of Peebles.

The scheme, including flood doors, air brick covers, internal pumps and internal pipework modifications, is to be rolled out to 40 properties in these areas at a cost of £250,000.

Flood studies for Broughton, Peebles, Innerleithen, Earlston and Newcastleton are also planned.

Water monitoring

Image copyright Bernie Gajos
Image caption Jedburgh has had problems with the Skiprunning Burn in the past

Jedburgh's Skiprunning Burn Scheme was completed earlier this year and also aims to reduce the impact of flooding.

It has seen CCTV cameras situated at the burn to allow SBC staff to monitor its levels effectively.

Other improvements have seen a new overflow bypass culvert and new screens introduced to try to reduce the chances of the burn being blocked by debris.

Councillor Gordon Edgar said it was "brilliant news" that Selkirk's flood defences had been completed and hoped it could lead to wider regeneration of the area.

He claimed the council had a "strong track record of delivering flood works" with a Galashiels scheme completed in 2014.

"Hawick Flood Protection Scheme continues to be a priority for the council," he added.

"The council was delighted with the response from the people of Hawick to the flood protection scheme public exhibition, coupled with the Scottish government's provision of the first tranche of funding.

"The council will continue to engage with local people in the town as the scheme enters its next phase in 2017."

He said the Jedburgh scheme should also help people previously "badly affected" by flooding.

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