River Ness Flood Alleviation Scheme

Phase 2 - Public Exhibition

Residents, businesses and stakeholders recently attended the Phase 2 exhibition at Trinity Church hall, Gilbert Street.  Members of the project team from the Council and contractor, McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd , were available to answer any questions and/or concerns.  McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd were recently awarded the £9.3 million contract for this next phase of works on the River Ness Flood Alleviation Scheme, with works due to start towards the end of April.

Residents and businesses affected by the works have received a letter advising them of the impending works which will take place on both sides of the the river between Friars Bridge and the mouth of the river near the harbour. To enable construction of the scheme, temporary Traffic Orders will come into force on streets affected by the works. 

Phase 1 - Bank Street Update

The Highland Council has informed businesses, residents, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists that to get back on track with the schedule to deliver the River Ness Flood Scheme  the period of closure of Bank Street to traffic  - between Fraser Street and Friars Lane - has been extended until May.
The Council had planned to reopen Bank Street to through traffic between Ness Bridge and Academy Street in February to coincide with work starting on the second phase of the Kessock Bridge Resurfacing Project.
However, due to large boulders encountered the project had fallen behind and in order to avoid summer peak working or further disruption at this time next year the continuation of the present closure provides an opportunity for flood wall construction and streetscaping features to be completed by early summer. Therefore avoiding summer working or extending the work into January/February next year.

Therefore, Bank Street will remain closed to all traffic, apart from emergency vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, waste management vehicles and those requiring access to properties. Taxis and service buses only are being diverted into and out of the city centre via Fraser Street under traffic light control during this closure.

Huntly Street

Works are continuing on Huntly Street and the section of road between Celt Street and Balnain Street is currently closed to traffic.  This is for drainage works and the wall construction. 
The section of Huntly Street between Greig Street and Young Street is also closed to traffic in order that works can progress from Greig Street end towards Young Street. 

It is stressed that businesses in Bank Street and Huntly Street remain very much `open for business` throughout the duration of these works with pedestrian access maintained.

The flood defences for Phase 1 and 2 will protect 800 homes and 200 businesses in the city centre and will feature a public arts programme to complement streetscape enhancements. Click here for more information

Need to get in touch?

Sally Cooper (left) and Angela McBreartyIt is recognised that these works will cause disruption. The Highland Council and Morgan Sindall aim to minimise this as much as possible. Those residents and businesses directly affected  receive notifications in advance of works starting in their area as well as a monthly newsletter with updates about the progression of the scheme.

If you have any issues, or require any further information about the works, please contact the Public Liaison Officers:  Sally Cooper (Highland Council) and Bryan Jolly (Morgan Sindall) Tel: 07557 744442, Email: RiverNessFAS@highland.gov.uk

The District Valuer has been appointed by The Highland Council to liaise with landowners and businesses that are directly affected by the scheme. If you would like to raise a concern with the District Valuer please contact them on 03000 506298.

Launch of first project in River Ness public arts programme

One of the spin-off benefits of the River Ness Flood Scheme is the creation of a major public arts programme to enhance the attractions of the riverscape in Inverness city centre. See River Connections Artist's Brief (1557kb pdf)

Background to the Scheme

In December 2011 The Highland Council applied to Scottish Government for funding towards the above scheme.

High water levels on the River Ness 2005

The Tidal Section (between Ness Bridge and the mouth of the river) was promoted for funding as it had previously obtained a Flood Prevention Order in 2008 under the 1961 Flood Prevention Act and Planning Permission in 2008/9. The scheme proposed to raise the existing flood defences along both banks of the river in the form of short walls and embankments. This scheme is designed to protect  properties from a 1:100 return period flood (including allowances for climate change and freeboard) and has an overall benefit to cost ratio of 3.5.  

The River Ness has burst its banks numerous times throughout history, often with devastating consequences. The most disruptive event occurred in 1989 when the railway viaduct was swept away with the floods. A pre-feasibility study for a flood alleviation scheme was undertaken in 2005, which included the production of indicative flood extents. These extents identified that a flood alleviation scheme would provide significant benefits in the lower section (north of Ness Bridge). Following this study, a wide range of flood alleviation options were examined as part of technical options review.

Consideration was given to the technical, economic, environmental and social aspects of each potential solution. A key stakeholder's workshop was then held in November 2005 to discuss all the potential flood alleviation options for Inverness. The preferred option to protect Inverness from both tidal and fluvial (river) flooding was some form of riverbank defence.

Following consultations with affected landowners, outline designs for ‘The River Ness (Tidal Section) Flood Prevention Scheme’ and ‘The River Ness (Non-Tidal Section) Flood Prevention Scheme’ were submitted to Scottish Government under the 1961 Flood Prevention Act. Both schemes received ministerial confirmation in March 2009 (copies of the Flood Prevention Order can be downloaded from ‘current documents’).

Planning Permission for both sections were then sought in September 2009. Due to the number of objections the Non-Tidal Section (south of Ness Bridge) received, this application was withdrawn. The Tidal Section received Planning Permission in December 2009.

The Non-Tidal Section which includes areas to the south of Ness Bridge is included in the Highland Councils’ Flood Alleviation Capital Programme and will be reviewed in the future.

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