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Work begins on £11million flood prevention scheme in Lochaber

Caol Primary School pupil Isla Ross and Joan Ling of Caol Community Council helped dig the first turf to mark the beginning of work on  the new flood defences.
Caol Primary School pupil Isla Ross and Joan Ling of Caol Community Council helped dig the first turf to mark the beginning of work on the new flood defences.

Work on a flood prevention scheme to protect homes in Lochaber has begun.

Houses in Caol and Lochyside have been badly hit by flooding in recent years and this £11million project will increase protection to more than 300 homes in the area.

The scheme involves more than a mile of defences being built between the Caledonian Canal and Soldier’s Bridge in the River Lochy.

Contractors RJ MacLeod will create an embankment spanning three quarters of a mile, and build half a mile of flood wall. Two flood gates and drainage will also be installed.

The project is expected to take about two years.

Fort William, Loch Linnhe (left) with the village of Caol and then Loch Eil in the distance.

‘Crucial work’ will provide peace of mind

Local councillor and chairman of the housing and property committee, Ben Thompson, is pleased to see works finally start.

“It is fantastic to see that works are now under way 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.”

Pupils from Caol Primary School attended the site last week for the sod-cutting ceremony.

As part of the project, there will also be improved access to the towpath at the Caledonian Canal and better walking and cycling routes.

The area was identified as one of 42 priorities in the National Flood Risk Management Strategy for Scotland.

In 2005 flooding caused damage to around 20 homes and sewage works. It had been caused by a large tidal surge in Loch Linnhe, and this scheme has been designed to protect again a one in 200-year storm surge from the loch.

A public inquiry was held on the project in March 2019, but in July that year it was decided the scheme could progress without modification and was opened up to tenders.

It is being funded by both the Scottish Government and Highland Council.

 

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