Test for flood defences planned
The new Kirkwall Harbour flood prevention scheme will be tested during an exercise next week.
Orkney Islands Council is advising that flood gates will be deployed for a short time on Tuesday 20 November.
This will have a temporary impact on the Waterfront West-Shapinsay Slip carpark and the wider Kirkwall harbour area.
The scheme, built with the majority of costs funded by the Scottish Government, is designed to protect low lying parts of Kirkwall against flooding from the sea.
When forecasts predict there a flooding risk, flood gates will be fitted across gaps in the stone wall along the harbour front - creating a 1.1-metre-high uninterrupted barrier between Ayre Mills and St Catherine’s Place roundabout.
“When the flood gates are in place there will be an impact on access to Kirkwall Pier and the wider harbour area,” said John Wrigley, OIC’s Roads and Environmental Services Manager.
“It will also affect drivers, who will be unable to move vehicles in and out of the Waterfront West-Shapinsay Slip car park.
“Together with SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) we’ll endeavour to give people plenty of advance warning that the flood gates are likely to be deployed.”
He added: “We will be putting the gates in place on Tuesday during an exercise to test the flood defence systems we’ve developed.
“This will be for a short period only and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience this causes.”
People who live and work in Kirkwall are encouraged to sign up for SEPA’s new coastal flood warning service for Kirkwall. This aims to provide advanced warning when coastal flooding is likely to occur.
In addition, the Council will provide updates on the OIC_Roads Twitter feed when the flood defences are – or are likely to be – deployed.
The OIC_Roads Twitter feed also provides updates when the Churchill Barriers are closed, or when closure of the barriers is under consideration.
Paul Copestake, SEPA’s Flood Advisor for the North of Scotland, said: “Building on the successful launch of the Orkney Coastal Flood Warning Scheme in September, Tuesday’s exercise is an important opportunity to test our response to extreme weather events, alongside our resilience partners at the Council and local emergency services.
"The exercise in Kirkwall will reinforce our ability to coordinate real-time forecasting with on the ground flood prevention.
“Advance warning not only provides valuable time for residents to prepare for flooding, it also allows islanders to plan for the disruption it can cause. To receive alerts and warnings for your local area, we would encourage residents to sign up to Floodline on 0345 988 1188.”
More information about Floodline and how to sign up for flood warnings is available here.
The OIC_Roads Twitter feed is available here.