PROJECTS in the Borders are being affected by construction material shortages and price increases, a meeting has heard.

Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) capital plan was discussed at a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday (November 16).

Chief financial officer David Roerston said that the local authority’s “large and ambitious capital plan” is being “impacted by a number of external factors including cost factors and delivery of materials”.

On the construction industry, Mr Robertson said: “This sector has seen a huge surge in demand following the unlocking of the economy on the back of COVID-19 and we’re seeing shortages, price increases and longer lead times in terms of construction materials which are in turn impacting on our delivery of the capital plan.”

According to a report published ahead of the meeting, the construction material supply chain has been subject to “unprecedented disruption” in recent months.

The proposed reallocation of funds in the report were approved by the executive committee. One budget variance outlined in the document is a “timing movement” of £771,000 to 2022/23 for Peebles High School.

This is to “recognise that early enabling works are now forecast for 2022/23 after completion of the planning process”.

Meanwhile, the more than £2 million of funding from SUSTRANS and South of Scotland Enterprise for the creation of Eddleston Water path is also listed.

On plans to upgrade residential care homes, the report states that delays have been experienced due to COVID-19 restrictions and work is now being delayed further by issues around availability of contractors and materials.

Elsewhere in the Borders, Mr Robertson told the meeting that “very good progress” has been made with the Hawick flood protection scheme which protected the town from the effects of torrential rain last month.

On the capital plan, Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, of the Conservatives, said: “I’m content that we’re doing all we can but I would encourage officers to drive these projects on as fast as we can.”