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Highland Council begins search for contractor for Caol flood protection improvements

The site of the Caol flood protection scheme.
The site of the Caol flood protection scheme.

Plans to protect 300 Lochaber homes from flash flooding have taken a step forward after council officers launched the search for a contractor to carry out the works.

Designs for the Caol and Lochyside Flood Protection Scheme are currently being drawn up by the Highland Council.

The £8.7million development will include the construction of a 3,937ft embankment and a concrete wave wall along the shore of the loch, as well as a new secondary drainage system, footways and landscaping.

Following a series of public consultations, the local authority has now opened the project up for tenders.

A Highland Council said: “Design work is progressing in preparation for construction of the scheme later in 2020. Works are expected to last for around 18 to 20 months.”

To make way for the new improvements, council officials are to begin tree felling in the village, located by the River Lochy to the south-east and Loch Linnhe to the south-west, in the coming weeks.

Construction on the banks is expected to take between 18 to 20 months to complete.

Coal, north of Fort William, has been subject to severe flooding in recent decades, with the most recent incident recorded in 2005.

Councillor Allan Henderson said the scheme has been a long time coming.

He said: “Like many flood prevention schemes this one has been a long time in the gestation stage and is now finally taking shape. For many years Caol/Lochyside has been one of the more challenging areas as it has a long boundary verging a river and the sea ( Loch Linnhe).

“When particularly high tides occur and they are annual events compounded with river flood water and a tidal surge from wind many of these properties are under threat. There is nothing surer that this will continue as long as we have global warming as that only means more severe weather events for the Highlands.

“This should give comfort to the residents on stormy nights and possibly even have the added benefit of lower insurance premiums.”

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