Selkirk Flood Scheme is completed

Pupils, Roseanna Cunningham, MSP, and David Parker burying a time capsule

Published: Monday, 27th February 2017

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, officially opened Selkirk’s new flood protection scheme.

The completion of the £31.4million project was marked by the burial of a time capsule containing items such as a signed school jumper and newspaper clippings.

The time capsule was buried by:

  • Ms Cunningham
  • Councillor David Parker
  • local primary school pupils who contributed to the capsule’s contents

Protecting Selkirk from flooding

The scheme provides protection to around 600 homes and businesses from major flood events, with the Scottish Government providing 80 per cent of the funding for the project.

These include properties in areas badly affected by flooding in 2003 and 2004

  • Riverside
  • Bannerfield
  • Philiphaugh

Notable features of the scheme include a 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 Storm Desmond in December 2015.

A total of two kilometres of flood defences have been created between the Ettrick Water and the Riverside recreational and industrial areas, while a 90metre footbridge was installed which is designed to remain open even during major flood events.

Selkirk flood protection scheme from start to finish

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

The Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme officially commenced in 2009, with six years of design and planning culminating in a successful bid for funding to the Scottish Government in March 2014.

Construction began in January 2015, with the scheme completed in less than two years.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Reform

“Flooding can have devastating consequences for individuals, businesses and communities and that is why we are working with partners and investing in schemes to protect against flooding. 

“The opening of this new scheme is good news for Selkirk and will provide lasting protection for around 600 properties against the sort of flooding that has affected this area.

“We are committed to reducing flood risk across Scotland. We will continue to make available £42million a year to fund important new projects to protect communities most at risk from flooding.”

Councillor David Parker, Council Leader

“This is a momentous day for Selkirk.

“Around 600 homes and businesses now have protection from major flood events thanks to the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme, the largest project of its kind delivered by Scottish Borders Council.

“We must thank the Scottish Government for their support of this project, which we believe will encourage business growth and employment, as well as provide protection to people’s homes from major flood events.

“The Council will continue to take forward the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme with the aim of providing similar protection to its residents and businesses.”

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure

“Selkirk’s history is entwined with the rivers, burns and waters which surround it.

“They have provided the town with work through the mills but also created havoc, from the flood of 1977 which brought down the Auld Stane Brig, to the floods of 2003 and 2004 which devastated Bannerfield and Philiphaugh in particular.

“All flood schemes take a long time to plan, design and then build, but I am delighted Selkirk now has a completed scheme which will protect homes and make it easier for businesses in the Riverside area to secure flood insurance. 

“We hope this will lead to the regeneration of the area and encourage the creation of jobs.”

Further information

Images of the opening are available on our Flickr page.

In August 2012, the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme became the first major flood protection scheme with an environmental statement to be approved under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.