Marking completion of major flood prevention scheme
Community members have officially marked the completion of phase two of Edinburgh’s major Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme.
Pupils from Roseburn Primary School joined Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, to cut the ribbon on a new bridge across the river, built as part of the City of Edinburgh Council's multi-million pound project, which has been delivered significantly under budget.
The second phase of the scheme has been under construction since July 2016 and covers 1.2km between Murrayfield and Roseburn. Amongst improvements have been the construction of new flood defence walls, embankments and flood gates, as well as two new bridges at Baird Drive and Saughtonhall Avenue.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “That this major scheme has been completed successfully ahead of schedule and under budget is excellent news, and demonstrates sound and efficient project management by everyone involved.
“By working closely with the community throughout construction, the team have been able to take into account the needs of local people, raising awareness of the project and ensuring work results in minimum disruption.
“I am delighted to see the finished scheme today, which will deliver significant benefits to those living nearby, both in terms of protection from flooding and substantial improvements to the surrounding area.”
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “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 Edinburgh and will provide lasting protection for around 400 properties.
“The Scottish Government is committed to reducing flood risk across Scotland. We will continue to make £42 million a year available to fund important new projects to protect communities most at risk from flooding.”
The Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme is a key infrastructure project to protect hundreds of properties vulnerable to flooding. The first phase, completed in 2013, included defences at Veitches Square, Stockbridge Colonies, Warriston, St Mark's Park and Bonnington.
Originally budgeted at £25m, the overall cost of the project is expected to be closer to £20m, subject to contractual arrangements being finalised. The underspend can be attributed to a number of factors, including in-depth project planning prior to construction, sound contract management, effective working relationships with the contractor and neighbours and favourable ground conditions.
Phase two provides flood defence for more than 400 homes and a number of commercial properties, including Murrayfield Stadium, Murrayfield Ice Rink and the Chinese Consulate, which were amongst the worst-hit during severe floods of 2000.
Throughout construction, contractors have worked closely with stakeholders and the local community to ensure project work runs smoothly.
As well as improving the quality of life for residents affected by flooding the project provides enhanced access to the riverside walkway, disability access and improvements to the environmental and amenity aspects of the area. Roseburn Park will also soon receive a new play park for use by the local community.
PROJECT FACT FILE
Length of river covered: 1.2km
Length of embankments: 600m
Length of walls: 1.5km
Volume of concrete used: 5600m3
Weight of steel used: 670 tonnes
Volume of earthworks for two stage channel and embankments: 17,000m3
Properties protected: 485
Peter Gregson, Chair of Friends of Roseburn Park, said: “We’re very pleased that Roseburn has now been protected from flooding. The contractors and the flood prevention manager have done a great job, have kept the community well-informed and have responded to concerns quickly. With the help of their thorough planting of wild flowers and young trees, we look forward to nature taking its course to greening our park back to the way it used to be.”
John Yellowlees, Chair of Murrayfield Community Council, said: “The Murrayfield Community Council are delighted that our number one priority over many years has been completed on budget and on time. We are grateful for the way in which the Council has positively engaged with local residents, particularly as regards the protection of well-loved trees, and I consider that the project has helped restore the City Council’s reputation on the successful delivery of large capital projects.”
Local resident Edith Conner, who lives on Riversdale Grove, said: “I feel a real sense of security now the scheme is complete. I remember what it was like in the past when there was a heavy rainfall, watching out the window and seeing the water level rise. I thought the project work went well, I’m really pleased – the team was very polite and always kept us up-to-date. They’ve made an excellent job of the park too.”