SELKIRK'S Flood Protection Scheme has scooped a prestigious national engineering award.

The £32.1million project, which provides protection to around 600 homes and businesses from the Ettrick Water, won the Environmental prize at the Saltire Civil Engineering Awards last Tuesday.

Experts on the judging panel were impressed with the multi-agency collaborative working which had already protected properties from flooding on six separate occasions.

Among the highlighted features of the scheme was the intelligent water management system at St Mary’s Loch, which can store the equivalent of 620 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, and has already been credited with protecting properties during storms Desmond and Frank in December 2015.

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, who is the local authority's spokesman for Roads and Infrastructure, was among the first to congratulate the team behind the scheme.

He said: “It is fantastic that the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme has been recognised by the Saltire Awards, which celebrate outstanding engineering achievements in Scotland.

“The scheme has already provided environmental, economic and social benefits for the local community, and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

“The council now has a track record of delivering successful flood protection schemes, with projects in Galashiels, Jedburgh and Selkirk completed.

“We are now taking forward the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme with the aim of providing similar protection and benefits to its residents and businesses.”

Two kilometres of flood defences were created between the Ettrick Water and the Riverside recreational and industrial areas - including 3,400 metres of new walls and 3,100 metres of embankments.

Over 11,000 metres of public utilities had to be diverted to allow for the works to take place.

During construction of the defences total of 6,000 metres of footpaths and parks were either created or reinstated.

And five new footbridges were built to allow walkers and cyclists to explore the countryside.

More than 150 people worked on the scheme at its peak, with around half being from the Borders

Main contractor RJ McLeod estimates that business worth £6m was generated for the local economy during construction.

Conor Price, senior project manager of the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme, said: “A key objective of this scheme from the beginning was to provide an environmentally acceptable and sustainable flood protection scheme.

“Definitive proof of its flood protection capabilities was achieved in December 2015 when it protected Selkirk from flooding during Storm Frank.

“This environmental award from the Institution of Civil Engineering in partnership with the Saltire Society now provides an independent confirmation of the environmental achievements of this major civil engineering project.

“We are delighted to receive this award on behalf of the council, the people of Selkirk, and the many organisations and individuals that worked on the project over the past decade.”

Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme was completed last December - on time and within budget.