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SB Connect Winter 2016

Selkirk’s defences are now finished

An aerial view of new defences at the Riverside area of Selkirk

Almost 600 homes and businesses in Selkirk are now protected from major flood events after the defences for the town’s new flood protection scheme were completed.

The announcement means the construction of the walls, embankments and river restoration for the
£31.4 million project has been completed in less than two years.

Among the works undertaken as part of the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme were:

  • 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
  • the construction of a flood protection wall and culvert between the Shaw Burn and Dunsdale Haugh and reconfiguration of Selkirk Recycling Centre earlier this year
  • the construction of about 2km of flood defences between the Ettrick Water and the Riverside recreational and industrial areas
  • the installation, in September 2015, of a new 90-metre Bridge Street footbridge, which has been designed to remain open during major flood events.

At the peak of its construction phase, more than 150 people were working on the scheme, with around half being Borders residents. Main contractor RJ McLeod estimates that around £6m worth of business was generated for the local economy.

The completion of the defences means that Bannerfield – which was so badly affected by flooding in 2003 and 2004 – now has protection from a one-in-200-year (plus climate change) flood event, while the Riverside area has protection from a one-in-500-year (plus climate change) flood event.

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

Councillor Gordon Edgar, the Council’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said: “This is brilliant news for Selkirk. A lot of hard work has gone into reaching this stage, including six years of design and planning from 2009 to 2014. The Council appreciates the patience and goodwill of the people of Selkirk during the construction phase which at times has caused considerable disruption.

“This scheme will protect 595 properties in the town including in the Riverside area – where the majority of businesses in Selkirk are based – and will make it easier for these companies to secure flood insurance. Hopefully this will lead to the regeneration of the area and encourage the creation of jobs.”

Further information is available from