Main works contractor appointed for £88m Hawick flood protection scheme

A ‘significant step’ has been made in the Hawick Flood Protection scheme with the appointment of a main works contractor, the Scottish Borders Council has announced.

Councillors voted to approve the appointment of McLaughlin & Harvey for the construction works, following four ‘detailed’ tender bids put forward in November of 2019.

The firm has led a number of flood projects throughout the UK. Work on the Hawick scheme will see the construction of the flood protection scheme; creation of a new active travel network of traffic-free footpath and cycleways; an upgrade to the A7 trunk road at Commercial Road; and the installation of a new high capacity wastewater pumping station within the town’s wastewater treatment works.

The council said that, once complete, the scheme will provide protection to over 900 properties from a ‘1 in 75 years’ flood event. The local authority estimates that the total costs of the scheme will stand at £88 million – including the £7.5 million of construction work that has already been completed.

The funding to the overall scheme will come from:

  • The Scottish Government – £63 million
  • Scottish Borders Council – £15 million
  • 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.

The council added that it estimates that, if these four projects were carried out independently, the overall cost would be in the region of £101 million.

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, added, “We are 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.

“We have 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.”

Seamus Devlin, director of civil engineering at McLaughlin & Harvey, commented, “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.”