Flood defence and harbour improvement schemes across Aberdeenshire have been severely delayed.
Peterhead Port Authority was due to spend £4 million on bolstering the sea defences along Alexandra Parade, but those works have been set back until at least next spring.
And the completion of Stonehaven’s flood protection scheme has also been delayed, with Aberdeenshire Council now saying the White Bridge to Bridgefield Bridge section could be finished in either 2022 or early 2023.
Peterhead Port Authority will instead be relying on its makeshift sea defences, in the form of a wall of containers, until at least next spring.
The large 40ft by 20ft containers – which have been strengthened and weighed down – were installed this autumn.
They were put in place to protect Peterhead Fish Market from any wild winter weather until work on permanent measures can resume.
The authority says the spring window of opportunity for construction passed and the project has been deferred until spring 2021 at the earliest.
Project chiefs are now seeking a contractor for the improvement works to the existing revetment.
The works are expected to take nine months and firms have until January, 5, 2021, to get their tenders for the job in.
Peterhead Port Authority’s chief executive, Simon Brebner, said: “The objective of this temporary sea defence measure is to ensure business continuity throughout the coming winter months.
“The containers will be removed once we obtain the green light for the project to be reinstated.”
‘Significant delay’ to Stonehaven flood works
The Stonehaven works, meanwhile, were halted in March when contractors McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd left the site in light of lockdown guidance from the Scottish Government.
Works restarted in June and warnings were given of delays to the spring 2021 completion target as a result of the temporary shutdown.
The vast majority of the multi-million pound scheme, aimed at protecting the town from major flooding around the River Carron, is still expected to be completed by next summer, though.
The “significant delay” is linked to changes to the design and construction phases in the area.
It is, of course, extremely disappointing and regretful that one area of the Stonehaven flood protection scheme is facing significant delay owing to an issue surrounding the implementation of one vital element.”
Aberdeenshire provost Bill Howatson
Aberdeenshire provost Bill Howatson said the delay was “regretful” and that residents affected by the holdup had the council’s “utmost sympathy”.
“It is, of course, extremely disappointing and regretful that one area of the Stonehaven flood protection scheme is facing significant delay owing to an issue surrounding the implementation of one vital element,” he said.
“Those residents affected by this delay have our utmost sympathy and, moving forward, our main priority will be to continue engaging with both them and the wider community. The council remains committed to the completion of this vitally important project.”
Since works began in March 2019, they have included the construction of walls, embankments, culverts and alterations to five bridges.
Once complete, the flood risk will be reduced at 372 homes.
The local authority says further discussions will be held with the community once the “full design and programme implications are finalised”.