Scottish Borders Council has confirmed a significant step forward for the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme with the appointment of its main works contractor.

McLaughlin & Harvey’s appointment follows a major procurement exercise. The company, which has led on a number of flood projects throughout the UK, will now construct the Hawick scheme. Once completed, it will provide protection to over 900 properties from a ‘1 in 75 years’ flood event. The procurement exercise was launched early last year and saw four detailed tender bids put forward in November, which were then evaluated.

On 26 February this year Councillors voted unanimously to approve the appointment of McLaughlin & Harvey. Since then, detailed discussions have been ongoing regarding the start and completion dates for the Scheme in light of the Coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the construction sector.

An official opening for the Scheme will be announced in due course. To date, £7.5million of advanced construction works have been completed in the town since March 2018, preparing the way for the main works contractor to start on the principal construction project.

These works have also involved site clearance and the preparation of the Scheme’s traffic management plans including the construction of a new access road to Aldi at Commercial Road.

Project costs

The Hawick Flood Protection Scheme now represents four significant projects in one:

The construction of the Flood Protection Scheme;

  • The creation of a new Active Travel Network of traffic-free footpath and cycleways, stretching from Volunteer Park along the River Teviot to Weensland and the community recycling centre;
  • An upgrade to the A7 trunk road, at Commercial Road, to make it fit for the levels of traffic it now carries;
  • The installation of a new high capacity wastewater pumping station within the town’s wastewater treatment works to further alleviate the risk of sewage flooding during future flood events.

The total scheme costs will be £88m, including the main works contract, which represents a major investment in the infrastructure of the town of Hawick.

Contributions to the overall scheme costs include:

  • Scottish Government – £63m
  • Scottish Borders Council – £15m
  • SUSTRANS, the national walking and cycling charity, is contributing around £9m towards the cost of the new Active Travel Network along the River Teviot.
  • Scottish Water – £665,000 towards cost of new wastewater pumping station
  • Transport Scotland – £500,000 towards upgrade of Commercial Road

It is estimated that if these four projects were to be carried out independently of each other, the overall cost would be in the region of £101m. It means the Scheme represents significant value for money in terms of the public purse. The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “We are all aware of the problems faced by communities at risk from flooding.

“The people of Hawick know this particularly well and the damage caused by flooding earlier this year and in previous years will still be very clear in everyone’s minds.

“The Hawick scheme is one of the largest to be developed in Scotland, and forms a key part of the Scottish Government’s £420m, ten-year programme of support to local authorities agreed in 2016 to significantly lessen the problems caused by flooding.

“The Scottish Government is therefore very pleased to support Scottish Borders Council by contributing up to £63million from the 2016 fund towards the cost of the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme, and recognises the strong partnership approach with Scottish Water and SUSTRANS involvement.

“Supporting major capital works such as this is tangible evidence of the Government’s commitment to climate change adaptation and green recovery.”

Tracey Logan, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council, said: “Scottish Borders Council is proud to be working with the Scottish Government and other key partners to take forward one of the most comprehensive flood protection schemes ever to be seen in Scotland.

“As highlighted by the flooding experienced during Storm Dennis earlier this year, the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme is hugely important for the town and the Borders.

“The Council has a track record of providing flood protection schemes, including Selkirk’s which has already prevented millions of pounds worth of damage since it was completed in 2017.”

McLaughlin & Harvey’s Director of Civil Engineering, Seamus Devlin, added: “We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen to carry out the works on this major flood protection scheme.

“McLaughlin & Harvey is committed to excellence in everything we do and fully understand how important this project is to the people of Hawick and, indeed, to other flood protection schemes in the pipeline around the country.

“We look forward to working with the people of Hawick and the client team in order to deliver a world class flood protection scheme.”