FLOOD protection scheme plans being considered for Langholm for several years now look likely be dropped.
This is due to significant opposition from members of the community, no immediate risk of flooding, and the cost of the scheme rising to nearly £10 million.
Officials at Dumfries and Galloway Council are now recommending that the flood protection scheme proposals are sunk – and instead replaced with flood protection measures for properties most at risk in the town.
Councillors will discuss the matter at the council’s communities committee next Tuesday and decide on what action to take.
A report produced for the meeting explains that the erection of walls and embankments were considered by council officials as “the only practical solution to achieve significant flood protection.”
However, 320 people lodged objections to these plans, and the report states that they broadly preferred gravel removal and natural flood management as better solutions to flood risk.
It was also reported that the scheme was estimated to cost £2m in 2017, with the Scottish Government footing £1.6m of the bill and the council paying £400,000.
However, the current projected cost of the scheme is around five times higher at £9.9m.
The sky high costs and community opposition has resulted in council officers floating an alterative idea.
The council report states: “Whilst it is recognised that Langholm has never experienced flooding in living memory, all predictions conclude that in future it will suffer from significant flood events.
“As it is clear in light of funding deadlines and the extensive objections, the current flood protection scheme is not an option at this time. The project team has considered what measures or interventions are possible to provide some form of protection for ‘at risk’ properties in Langholm.
“The council currently offer a subsidy scheme where residents can purchase flood gates. It is considered however that a more comprehensive property flood resilience (PFR) scheme could be progressed with the council purchasing and installing flood doors to properties, and if needed self-closing air bricks, and to work with Scottish Water to provide non-return valves on sewer network property connections.”
The consultants currently employed on the Langholm flood protection scheme say that the feasibility work to provide options for a PFR scheme would cost approximately £9000, with further work to provide a detailed proposal being approximately £20,000.
Councillors will now be asked to approve a request to the council’s finance committee for £40,000 to cover these PFR scheme feasibility costs.