Flood risk projects in Fife ‘face the chop due to soaring costs’

Council co-leader David Alexander admitted there was now a 'worrying likelihood' that some schemes may have to be shelved.

Flood risk projects in Fife ‘face the chop due to soaring costs’ LDRS via George Zielinski
Fife: Flooding in Cardenden in August 2020.

A number of projects to manage flood risk in Fife may have to be paused or cancelled due to soaring costs, councillors have heard.

Council co-leader David Alexander admitted there was now a “worrying likelihood” that many uncommitted schemes may have to be shelved because of “significant increases” in the cost of the long-term flood management programme during an update to full council on Thursday.

Details of which projects will be affected are likely to be outlined at area committee level, and more information should start to emerge in January.

“The costs within the construction industry have increased significantly over the last 18 months and that applies across the full range of project scales,” he explained.

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“That’s ranging from individual pieces of work and hyper local schemes to the largest flood protection schemes that are partially funded by the Scottish Government.

“Timber, plastics, masonry costs have increased sometimes in the order of 120% a week, and we’re looking at a potential overspend in the risk flood management of £188m Scotland-wide so obviously it is concerning.”

Fife has seen a number of high-profile projects completed in the past year, such as the Dunfermline Flood Prevention Scheme and efforts to protect the Kirkcaldy Sea Wall against coastal erosion.

However, up to 450 sites were identified in the summer in terms of where work could be done to manage and reduce the impact of flooding in at-risk areas.

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Those have been matched against a scoring system to prioritise those sites at greatest risk, and many of the sites identified have seen work done over the last few months.

Nevertheless, proposed flood risk management projects in the likes of Cardenden – where residents took part in a flood study earlier this year – and at the Kinness Burn in St Andrews may now take longer to come to fruition.

By local democracy reporter Craig Smith

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