Highland Council and SEPA to close River Ness flood gates for joint training exercise

Floodgates map
Map of flood gates on River Ness Flood Scheme

The flood gates for the River Ness Flood Scheme will be closed for around 2 hours on 28 September 2016 as part of a joint training exercise between The Highland Council (THC) and SEPA.

The award winning River Ness flood alleviation scheme was completed in 2015 and includes flood walls, embankments and 12 flood gates which are normally kept open to maintain access at key locations.  The scheme protects 800 homes and 200 businesses in Inverness.

Two of the gates are on either side of the Grieg Street footbridge and the closure of these will restrict access across the river at this point for around 2 hours from around 11:00 on Wednesday 28 September.

Objectives of the exercise are to demonstrate The Highland Council’s and SEPA’s operating procedures for responding to coastal and river flood events and how they trigger activation of Inverness Flood Alleviation Scheme (gate closures).

SEPA is responsible for providing a flood warning and forecasting service (FLOODLINE) within Scotland, and The Highland Council, Emergency Services and the general public can receive flood alerts and warnings direct.

This exercise is an example of strong partnership working, utilizing SEPA’s flood forecasting and warning capabilities and expertise, with The Highland Council to culminate in the closure of the flood gates in the Inverness Flood Alleviation Scheme.


Richard Brown, Head of Hydrology at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said:

“This joint training exercise is an excellent example of strong partnership working. Using our   state-of-the-art flood forecasting systems along the Moray Firth and River Ness enables SEPA to work closely with local authorities and emergency responders during flood events to ensure people are informed and protected.

“It is never too early for people and businesses to take action and protect themselves, and their properties, against the disruption and damage which flooding can cause. In addition to the well-established River Ness flood warning system, a coastal flood warning service for the Moray Firth was launched in 2014 and we hope that as many people as possible who live and work in, or travel through, the area will sign up to our Floodline service to receive up to 24 hours advance notice when flooding is predicted.”

Provost Helen Carmichael said: “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. The new River Ness flood scheme not only protects 1000 properties from such devastation, but the scheme has really transformed our lovely riverside and has made it a really attractive place to be.”

She went on to say: “It will be interesting to see the floodgates put into action and it is good to be working proactively in partnership with SEPA and other agencies to prevent flooding and protect our communities.”

“The Highland Council would like to thank the public and businesses for their patience during this training exercise. It is vital that both organisations rehearse and refine the procedure for operating the flood scheme to ensure the people of Inverness are protected.”

SEPA’s flood warning service includes Floodline; a 24 hour telephone and online information service covering all of Scotland. You can sign up to Floodline to receive free notifications of flood warning messages direct to your choice of mobile or landline numbers at www.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup or by calling 0345 988 1188.

As Scotland’s national flood forecasting, flood warning, and strategic flood risk management authority, SEPA is responsible for providing advice on flood risk to local authorities for planning purposes.

Local authorities are responsible for planning, implementing and maintaining flood protection measures.



20 Sep 2016
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