South Scotland

Hawick flood 'near miss' highlights need for £44m scheme

Flooding Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption Flood warnings were issued at the weekend as river levels rose

A flooding "near miss" has provided a "timely reminder" of the need for a £44m flood protection scheme in the Borders, a council has claimed.

It comes after heavy rainfall saw rising water levels on the River Teviot at the weekend.

Gordon Edgar, from Scottish Borders Council, said it showed why the scheme was about to start the construction phase.

It is hoped the multi-million pound project can be completed by late 2022.

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption Work is about to get under way on a multi-million pound protection scheme in Hawick

The protection scheme's project director Conor Price said people would have "watched with concern" as river levels rose.

"Flood warnings were issued along the length of the river as it flows through Hawick," he said.

"There was a very real risk that the river could have breached current flood defences and burst its banks, leading to the sort of significant and damaging flooding the town has experienced in the past."

He said no properties were flooded and water levels subsequently came down.

However, he added that with further heavy rain forecast authorities were "rightly remaining vigilant".

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption It is hoped the project can be completed by late 2022

"Undoubtedly, this has been a close shave and we are not out of the woods yet," he said.

Mr Edgar said the town was set to "lead the way" in showing how to manage flood risk.

"It will be one of the biggest flood protection schemes ever undertaken in the UK and is, of course, absolutely vital for the town," he said.

"On completion in late 2022, it will provide modern, effective flood defences and more importantly the scheme will provide security and peace of mind for the people of Hawick."

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