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Mon June 21 2021

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RJ McLeod starts work on £11m flood defence

8 Jun RJ McLeod has begun work on the Caol & Lochyside Flood Prevention Scheme in Fort William.

Caol Primary School pupil Isla Ross and Joan Ling of Caol Community Council helped dig the first turf (photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image)
Caol Primary School pupil Isla Ross and Joan Ling of Caol Community Council helped dig the first turf (photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image)

The Highland Council is client for the £11m scheme, which will run along the foreshore and riverside to protect residents and homes in the Caol and Lochyside areas.

RJ McLeod’s works are projected to last 104 weeks and are in response to severe flooding in the area in the past. The flood in 2005 caused damage to around 20 homes and the sewerage works. The 2005 flood was significant in that it was caused by a large tidal surge in Loch Linnhe.

Pupils from Caol Primary School attended the site to cut the first piece of turf signalling the start of the works.

Caol& Lochyside is one of 42 prioritised flood protection schemes identified in the National Flood Risk Management Strategy for Scotland. It will increase flood protection to over 300 properties in the area.

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The scheme has been designed to protect against a 1:200 year storm surge event from Loch Linnhe. The scheme is being funded by the Scottish government (80%) and Highland Council (20%).

The 2km-long scheme consists of 1,200m of embankment and 800m of flood wall with two flood gates and associated drainage. The flood defence will be constructed between the Caledonian Canal and Soldier's Bridge in the River Lochy. There will be improved access to the towpath at the Caledonian Canal and improved walking and cycling routes along the length of the scheme.

Caol & Mallaig councillor and chair of the housing and property committee, Ben Thompson, said: "It is fantastic to see that works are now underway on the Caol and Lochyside Flood Prevention Scheme.

“This crucial work will provide peace of mind to residents and ensure they are protected from the damaging effects of flooding in the future. The project will also bring extra benefits to the area, such as an increase in cycling and footpath provision, landscaping, planting, seating areas and play facilities which will be a welcome addition to the Caol foreshore.”

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