Contract for Caol and Lochyside Flood Protection Scheme awarded

Councillor Ben Thomson on the site of the flood defences. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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The contract for the Caol and Lochyside Flood Protection Scheme has been awarded to RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd.

The £11M contract for the construction of the 2km-long flood protection scheme will begin in May thanks to funding from the Scottish Government and The Highland Council.

This is one of 42 prioritised flood protection schemes identified in the National Flood Risk Management Strategy for Scotland.

The flood wall will be built between the Caledonian Canal and Soldier’s Bridge in the River Lochy to increase flood protection to more than 300 properties in Caol and Lochyside, as well as providing environmental benefits to the wider community.

It will be completed by 2023 and will ensure the community, which is classified as a potentially vulnerable area, will be protected against a one-in-200-year storm surge event from Loch Linnhe.

As well as protecting the community, the scheme will improve and increase footpath and cycling provision and will include landscaping, planting, seating areas and play facilities to enhance the Caol foreshore.

Results from the community consultation were concluded last December, and the results and details of the programme for construction will be presented to the local community over the next few weeks and months as plan is developed by the RJ McLeod prior to breaking ground on the project in the spring.

A public liaison officer is to be appointed to act as a point of contact for the community, who, together with Highland Council staff, will keep the community updated regarding traffic management issues, construction progress and will be available to deal with any issues which may arise during the contract.

Local councillor Ben Thompson, chairman of The Highland Council’s Housing and Property Committee, said: ‘Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who took part in the recent online consultation. Community input into the scheme has been very influential and important. I’m delighted the contract has been awarded so work can now progress.

‘I think we are all keen to see greater flood protection for Caol and Lochyside as soon as possible, as well as all looking forward to improved pedestrian links and play facilities.’

Director of RJ McLeod, Sandy Osborne, added: ‘We are very pleased to be able to continue working with The Highland Council to deliver this important infrastructure project. It follows our successful Highland Council projects on Inverness Flood Scheme, Whitebridge and, soon to be completed, Inverness West Link. An integral part of the project will be community liaison and protection of the environment, and we will follow and build on the good practices deployed and refined on these and other projects.’