News

December 2011

  • The application for three separate Controlled Activities Regulations licences was submitted to SEPA on 5th December.  These licences are required to ensure that the proposed Scheme does not cause any adverse environmental impact on the watercourses and the habitats which they support.
  • The Flood Protection Scheme drawings and description of the scheme operations are finalised, ready for publication in the New Year.
  • August-November 2011

    Selkirk FPS Outline Design of the Preferred Scheme:

  • As part of the “Option Assessment” stage of the Selkirk FPS, a recommended series of flood protection measures were identified for each cell. The recommendations were formally ratified by Scottish Borders Council in January 2011 and permission to take forward the next stages of the project was granted.
  • A number of additional surveys and investigations were undertaken to inform the outline design and updated capital costs were determined for the flood protection measures required for each of the flood cells.
  • Updates to the flood risk were undertaken and the final alignment and levels of the preferred flood protection measures were defined. A series of consultations with affected parties and the public (including a second public exhibition) took place. These consultations served to assist the Project Team in designing a Scheme that the people of Selkirk could be proud of.
  • Running in parallel with the end of the Outline Design stage, the work associated with progressing the next stage effectively converts the outline design into the various statutory documents required for Scheme approval / acceptance. This is now complete.
  • All documents required for the statutory approvals process are now complete and ready to be published in January 2012. This effectively commences the formal approval / acceptance process.
  • The submission of the Scheme has been deferred until January 2012 (originally expected to be November 2011) to avoid the publication of the Scheme coinciding with the busy Christmas period.
  • June-July 2011

    St. Mary’s Loch Public Notice Boards:

  • Scottish Borders Council installed a number of public information boards and marker posts around St. Mary’s Loch to provide information on loch water levels, both for the current situation and the proposed scenario, illustrating the change in loch levels from flood conditions to extended dry spells.
  • The notice boards are available for download on the SMLWG page, click here to view. Please note the information contained on these boards may be subject to minor variation when detailed design of the flood storage works takes place.
  • St. Mary’s Loch Working Group:

  • The St. Mary’s Loch Working Group convened for the 4th meeting on 27th July 2011.
  • At this meeting, it was formally decided that the use of St. Mary’s Loch for flood attenuation purposes should be incorporated in the Selkirk FPS, providing certain conditions relating to flows into the Yarrow Water could be met. All members of the SMLWG confirmed agreement with this recommendation.
  • For further information on the SMLWG, please click here.
  • Long Philip Burn Natural Flood Management (NFM):

  • Since October 2010, the project team have been developing a strategy for qualifying the potential flood risk reduction benefits that could be achieved through the use of natural flood management on the Selkirk FPS, specifically on the Long Philip Burn catchment.
  • Halcrow have recently completed this study and have identified a range of natural flood management measures that have the potential to deliver tangible flood risk benefits for the Long Philip Burn catchment.
  • The decision on whether or not to include these measures in the Scheme was influenced by a discussion held with the Scottish Government in July 2011. Given that there are relatively few landowners affected by the proposed NFM measures (three owners and two tenant farmers), and that the works will involve the subtle change in land management practice over many years, inclusion in a Flood Protection Scheme as an operation does not make sense.
  • The decision to exclude the NFM measures from the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme 2011 was therefore agreed by the Project Team and Project Board, but it is proposed to ensure that these measures will form part of the Council’s overall flood risk management plan to augment the Scheme in the future.
  • May 2011

    Public Exhibition No. 2:

  • The project team conducted two days of intense consultation with the people of Selkirk to present and discuss the preliminary design of the Preferred Flood Protection Scheme.
  • The exhibition took place in the Philiphaugh Community School on 23rd and 24th May 2011 and this important milestone in the development of the Scheme was considered to be an overwhelming success due to the numbers attending (over 250) and positive feedback received from those attending.
  • For further information on Public Exhibition No. 2, please click here.
  • St. Mary’s Loch Option:

  • The project team continued to review the potential use of St Mary’s Loch to determine if it could provide a control system allowing water levels in the loch to be managed for the purpose of storing flood waters during a storm event.
  • Halcrow continued to work on a draft of the Feasibility Study to allow it to be reviewed by the various stakeholders prior to the next St. Mary’s Loch Working Group Meeting in June. The draft was submitted for review by the key stakeholders early in the month
  • April 2011

    There was a huge amount of work undertaken during April. The majority of this was done by Halcrow as they continue to develop the Outline Design. The main points of note are:

    The Outline Design:

    March 2011

    The Ground Investigation No. 2 site works was completed with all (approx.) 25 boreholes successfully drilled. Soil Mechanics are ongoing in analysing the information collected and are putting together their final reports. A number of site snags remain to be tidied up (e.g. a cleaning up exercise at the gravel carpark by Philiphaugh Community School and replacing a part of the wire mesh fence at the Community Recycling Centre).

    The Topographic Survey No. 2 site works was completed and the Survey Team are currently finalising their final report.

    With the data from the various surveys being fed back to the Project Team (as it becomes available) the Outline Design has been developing over the past few weeks. The Project Team are finally beginning to get a real handle on the engineering design that is seeing alignment and form of the flood protection measures for Selkirk take shape.

    The Project Team commenced the consultation process required by the Outline Design Process. The first of these meetings was held on 24th March 2011 and dealt with the interaction of the proposed flood defence measures with the existing built and natural environments. The Council’s Landscape Office (Jim Knight), Heritage & Design Officer (Mark Douglas) and Bridges Engineer (Iain Williams) met with Halcrow's Design Team. Various issues were identified and it was agreed that some of these could not be resolved without consulting the people of Selkirk through the Public Exhibition. In particular, the interaction with the Bridge Street Footbridge and the interaction with Victoria Park. Outline Design work progressed with the determination of a new alignment for the Long Philip Burn restoration and advancing the structural design for the walls, embankments an erosion protection works.

    During March the Battlefield at Philiphaugh was included in a new 'Inventory of Historic Battlefields' by Historic Scotland. For more information on this inventory CLICK HERE. It was also identified that a new project (an archaeological dig) is to be taken forward to map and interpret troop movements. For more information on this CLICK HERE. The Project Team recognise that there is a possible overlap between these issues and the flood protection scheme and therefore have established contact with Historic Scotland and the Public Community Project.

    A lot of work was undertaken on developing the Natural Flood Management Strategy. The Project Team expended significant time searching for a 'Tool' that would allow the specific benefits of any NFM Measure be quantified and thus evaluated. This process is ongoing but it looks hopeful that we will able to draw on a piece of software designed by an English university.

    The Project Team finally completed a number of new pages for the website, and specifically: The Flood Cells Overview Page, The Preferred Scheme Page and the Cell 7 - The SML Option Page. The design of other pages is ongoing.

    The Ecology Survey's Baseline Report was completed in December 2010. The evaluation of the 400 odd pages in this report has been ongoing since and many specific recommendations are being considered by the Design Team as the Outline Design is being processed. There was however one specific recommendation which recommended the undertaking of an Otter Monitoring Survey. This is due to there being a possible Otter Holt in the close vicinity of where a new flood wall is proposed. The Project Board therefore authorised the undertaking of this new survey. Preparations are ongoing just now.

    The SML Option is being progressed all the time with Halcrow continuing to work on the Feasibility Study. The main outcomes of this Study will be presented to the next SMLWG Meeting. For more info on the SMLWG CLICK HERE.

    February 2011

    Halcrow have opened up the workload associated with the Outline Design on all fronts since 21st January. This process is now fully focused on the next major project milestone: the Public Exhibition No. 2 which is programmed for the early summer 2011. For more information on the Public Exhibition No. 2 please CLICK HERE. The outline design process began with a detailed assessment of all the site constraints and a subsequent determination of the preferred alignment of the defences and flow conveyance improvements, followed by updating the hydrology and predicted flood levels using the advanced computer models specifically developed for this project

    The Project Team undertook a number of stakeholder days in Selkirk to discuss implications of the Outline Design with various stakeholders. Amongst those consulted on this occasion were: the Bannerfield Allotments, Ravensheugh, Ettrick Riverside, Careline Services Limited, Oregon Timber, Bookdonors, the Riverside Healthcare Centre, Alan Beattie, Philiphaugh Estate, the Philipburn House Hotel, Philiphaugh Community School, amongst others.

    The Project Team also attended the Bannerfield Residents Association's AGM at the Philiphaugh Community School on 8th February 2011. The Team would like to thank the Association for the invitation and for the open and honest contributions of its members to the discussion of flooding in the Bannerfield Area. The Project Team recognise the various issues raised by the Association's members and in particular the build-up of a gravel island under the Bridge Street Footbridge and the associated erosion of the bank on the Bannerfield side of the bridge. The Project Team will look into how these issues affect flooding in Bannerfield and report back to the Association.

    Arrangements for the Public Exhibition No. 2 - 'An exhibition to present the Draft Outline Design of the Selkirk FPS' - were advanced substantially. The exhibition has been arranged for Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th of May and will be held at the Philiphaugh Community School. Specific details of the exhibition will be advertised closer to the date.

    The Ground Investigation No. 2 Contract was awarded to Soil Mechanics further to a competitive tender exercise. Site Works commenced on 21st February and due to the favourable dry weather conditions Soil Mechanics have been making good progress. They have based their Site Compound at the back corner of the Victoria Park carpark and will be visible in Selkirk until the end of March.

    The Topographic Survey No. 2 Contract was awarded to Halcrow Group further to a competitive tender exercise. Site Works commenced on 14th February at a number of locations in Selkirk and around the perimeter of St. Mary's Loch. Surveyors will be busy mapping in detail the lie of the ground along the line of the proposed flood protection measures until early April.

    The Structural Investigation and Survey No. 2 was undertaken through Halcrow's main design contract although it was necessary to engage the specialist services of Geckotech Solutions Ltd. to assist with the investigation of the two footbridges over the Ettrick in Selkirk. This survey was to determine the condition of a number of key existing structures such that the Project Team can determine the best means that the new flood protection measures can interact with these existing structures. All site works on this survey were completed during February and the survey teams are now writing up their final reports.

    The Project Board determined, during the Board Meeting on January 20th that it would be sensible to undertake a Survey / Ground Truthing of the existing Public Utilities to feed into the Outline Design. There is normally a degree of flexibility as to when this work is undertaken and on many occasions this would not been undertaken until the Detailed Design Stage. In this instance the Project Board decided on the survey at this stage to ensure that the Project Design and Costs included in the Outline Design are as robust as possible. We believe this is critical during these harsher financial times. The scope of this piece of work is still being considered by the Project Team.

    The Project Team began the difficult task of developing 'Cell No. 8 - Natural Flood Management (NFM)'. In the Preferred Scheme this was only an aspiration to undertake such NFM Measures are were deemed to be beneficial to Selkirk. The emphasis now is on finalising a process through which we can determine the specific benefit of these measures so we can pin-point the most beneficial measures for inclusion in the Scheme.

    The 2nd meeting of the SMLWG was held on 24th February 2011. Please see the SMLWG Page for further information on this meeting. CLICK HERE.

    The design of the SMLWG Newsletter was finalised, the first issue was drafted and then circulated to the Stakeholder Email List. Paper copies were also distributed through some members of the SMLWG in the Yarrow Valley.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping exercise was ongoing. At this point the Scoping document has been submitted by Halcrow to SBC Planning and SBC Planning are undertaking a Statutory Consultation exercise.

    January 2011

    Website Update: Apologies to all our visitors regarding a lack of updates since November – this has primarily been due to a combination of the Christmas holidays and severe weather – we will be undertaking a full update before the end of January

    Proposed Scheme approval: The SBC Council Executive has reviewed the proposed preferred Flood Protection Scheme for Selkirk and, on 18th January 2011, unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed progression of the Scheme to outline design stage.

    The Project Team have commenced with Stage 4 immediately after securing Approval of the Proposed Preferred Scheme from SBC Executive on the 18th January. This Stage takes the scheme through an Outline Design of the Preferred Scheme. Once the Outline Design has been substantially advanced a Public Exhibition will be held to present the design to the public in Selkirk. This is currently programmed for late April / early May 2011. In particular the following activities have commenced:

  • The Tender Process to select a Contractor to deliver the main Ground Investigation Contract has commenced;
  • The Tender Process to select a Consultant to deliver the main Topographic Survey Contract has commenced;
  • A Structural Investigation of the main existing structures which sit on the line of the proposed flood protection measures will be undertaken. In particular this will examine the two existing Pedestrian Footbridges on the Ettrick and the A707 and A708 Road Bridges adjacent to Bannerfield;
  • The Outline Design of the flood protection measures identified in the Preferred Scheme will be subjected to further design by the specialist design consultants, Halcrow;
  • The St. Mary's Loch Option Feasibility Study will be continued;
  • A review of all existing Public Utility Infrastructure (i.e. service cables and pipes) along the line of the proposed flood protection measures will be undertaken;
  • The new pages on the website relating to the Flood Cell Design will be designed;
  • A new round of stakeholder consultation will be undertaken to ensure the thoughts of the public is Selkirk are know as the design is advanced.
  • The Project Team are delighted with the amount of positive coverage received in the local media and note there were articles in The Southern Reporter, The Selkirk Weekend Advertiser, Border Telegraph, BBC News Website, Borders Radio and Borders TV. A Press Release was distributed through SBC Communications Team immediately after the SBC Executive Meeting. This was in response to requests from almost all the local media for further information on the scheme.

    Please Click Here to view the Press Release.

    As stated above the Project Team are delighted with the coverage the approval of the preferred scheme has received and hope that this coverage will only increase the desire of the people of Selkirk to become involved in assisting us in closing out the design and ultimately delivering the scheme.