Cabinet secretary officially opens Arbroath’s flood protection scheme
Arbroath’s £12 million flood protection scheme was officially declared open by Máiri McAllan MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, net zero and just transition, at a ceremony at St Vigeans yesterday.
The cabinet secretary was welcomed by Angus Council chief executive Margo Williamson and Communities Convener, Cllr Mark McDonald.
Other invited guests included representatives from the scheme designers AECOM Consulting Engineers and contractors Morrison Construction Ltd., as well as council officers from the project board.
Guests were given a guided tour of the St Vigeans Flood storage area and had the opportunity to view the on-site information boards and discuss the scheme with project officers.
Ms McAllan then unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the scheme, which provides a 1 in 200-year standard of defence against flooding for the area and has been funded by the Scottish Government and Angus Council.
The cabinet secretary said: “Flooding can have devastating consequences for communities, businesses and individuals. I am therefore delighted to be here today to open this new scheme which will provide lasting flooding protection for around 500 properties in Arbroath.
“The Scottish Government has contributed over £9m to this particular scheme - an investment which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to do all we can to reduce flood risk across Scotland. Managing our exposure to floods and their impacts is a significant and growing challenge as climate change brings more severe and frequent flood events. We will continue to work with and support local authorities to deliver actions that protect our communities and businesses. However, success can only be achieved through partnership working.
“I recognise the hard work and dedication that Angus Council has invested in bringing the scheme forward and would like to congratulate the council and all the partners who have been involved in delivering it.”
The flood protection scheme has been operational since December 2022. By then it had already been put to the test and dealt with heavy rains that battered Scotland’s east coast in November in exactly the way it was intended to do.
Designed to reduce the risk of flooding in Arbroath, from the Brothock Water, which runs through the historic coastal town, the project was a national priority under the Flood Risk Management Strategy and has been developed in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
The scheme was developed under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, which introduced a new more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management in Scotland.
Angus Council communities convener, Cllr Mark McDonald, said: “There’s no doubting this has been a mammoth project for all concerned but one which, I am certain will have huge benefits for Arbroath.
“Planning for this project was years in the making. Then, when it came to getting started, the scheme found itself at the sharp end of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is testament to the determination and expertise of all concerned – AECOM, Morrison Construction, and our council’s Infrastructure Team that, despite the obstacles and restrictions of the pandemic and its aftermath, they have built a protective shield against the elements here in Angus that will make a huge difference to the lives of the Arbroath community.”
Angus Council chief executive, Margo Williamson, added: “This civil engineering project has been a tremendous endeavour and one that provides huge benefit and reassurance for our people, for their lives and livelihoods.
“It removes well over 530 of our citizens and their properties from a level of flood risk that existed before this scheme was completed and in so doing also prevents flood damage that averages at £840,000 each year.”
The Arbroath (Brothock Water) Flood Protection Scheme is designed to control the volume of water entering the Brothock during extreme weather. Its purpose is to hold flows back in the catchment above Arbroath to protect parts of the town that have suffered from flooding in the past and would have been at risk from flooding in the future.
James Tunnicliffe, project manager for AECOM, said: “The AECOM Team are proud to have been involved in this project since the earliest days. It’s incredibly rewarding to see a project, where we led the design from the beginning, brought to fruition and successfully meeting its purpose so soon after completion.
“The collaboration between Angus Council, Morrison Construction and AECOM ensured that this technically challenging project is now increasing flood protection and future resilience for Arbroath’s communities.”
Three flood storage areas built at Brothock Meadows, St Vigeans and Hercules Den manage this – using raised embankments and flow controls to retain flood water above the natural ground level during flood events. This allows the water flow and volume entering the Brothock to be controlled, limiting onward flows and avoiding the watercourse bursting its banks.
Culverts have been specifically designed to restrict flows and retain the water within the storage areas. That retained water is then gradually released in a controlled way through the culvert into the Brothock Water as the flood levels decrease.
Existing defence structures in Arbroath Town have also been enhanced, raised and reinforced and new flood walls constructed.
Drew Mackie, construction manager for Morrison Construction, said: “It was great to be part of this life changing project that will support local community for years to come.”
Rod Buchan, contracts manager for Morrison Construction, added: “Congratulations to the entire team who put in so much effort to deliver this technically challenging project to the highest of standards.”