McLaughlin & Harvey wins £18m Ayrshire flood protection scheme

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McLaughlin & Harvey has secured a construction contract for the flood protection scheme at the Upper Garnock Valley

Final preparations are being made to deliver an ambitious £18m plan for a comprehensive flood protection scheme for the Upper Garnock Valley.

McLaughlin & Harvey has been appointed as the main contractor, with work currently scheduled to get underway in late summer.

The Upper Garnock Valley Flood Protection Scheme aims to reduce the flood risk to properties in Kilbirnie, Glengarnock and Dalry from the River Garnock, Powgree Burn and Rye Water.

The area has a history of local flood events, most notably the significant Kilbirnie flooding event in 2008.

Flood protection scheme

The flood protection scheme itself consists of an embankment constructed to form a storage reservoir just north of Kilbirnie which will retain water and reduce downstream flow in the River Garnock.

Day-to-day flows will not be affected, and the storage area will normally be dry and will only fill during periods of peak water flow.

The embankment will be supplemented by direct flood defences to provide further flood protection to properties at the Paddockholm Industrial Estate and the surrounding area in Kilbirnie, properties in the vicinity of the Powgree Burn in Glengarnock and the Mill Park estate in Dalry as well as mitigation measures to the DSM plant and the railway embankment.

The total scheme costs will be £18m and will be funded jointly between North Ayrshire Council and an 80% contribution from the Scottish Government.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, cabinet member for green new deal & sustainability, said: “We are delighted that we are reaching a stage where we will see work start on a project which will have long-lasting and far-reaching benefits for the Garnock Valley.

“I hope that once complete, the flood protection scheme will offer local residents and businesses peace of mind and security.”

Commitment to climate change adaptation

Environment and climate change secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, commented: “Covid-19 is an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally affected every aspect of our lives.

“However, as we deal with its impact, climate change has not gone away and must now form a central part of our recovery from this difficult time.

“Supporting major capital works such as the Upper Garnock Valley Flood Protection Scheme is tangible evidence of the Scottish Government’s commitment to climate change adaptation, and to driving Scotland’s green recovery from the pandemic.”

Cunningham added: “We all know that flooding can have a devastating impact on homes, business and communities which is why I am pleased that progress is being made on the Upper Garnock Valley scheme, with a contractor now chosen to deliver it.

“I am also pleased that the Scottish Government could contribute £14m to support the project, from a commitment of £42m a year to help support important projects like this to protect those communities most at risk of flooding.”

Seamus Devlin, civil engineering director at McLaughlin & Harvey, said: “McLaughlin & Harvey is delighted to have been selected by North Ayrshire Council to deliver the Upper Garnock Flood Protection Scheme.

“We bring the experience from our ever-expanding expertise in the flood protection sector, and look forward to commencing works in the near future.”

The contractor has committed to creating new employment opportunities (typically for apprentices and/or unemployed individuals) equivalent to 10 full-time positions for the duration of the contract.

They will also work with local companies and third sector organisations to maximise any subcontractor opportunities, amongst other commitments.

Building work is expected to be completed in spring 2022.

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