Scottish Water announce £11m River Tweed project

Michael Moore, Sandi Hellowell and Pete Dew
Michael Moore, Sandi Hellowell and Pete Dew

an £11 million River Tweed Project has been unveiled by Scottish Water, to improve the natural environment of the ‘Queen of Salmon Rivers’.

The project will see the construction and improvement of six waste water treatment works throughout the Borders, including Swinton, as part of Scottish Water’s countrywide £2.5billion investment programme over the next five years.

This latest investment has the backing of politicians, VisitScotland and the Tweed Commissioners.

Borders MP Michael Moore welcomed the investment which will benefit the lifeblood of the Borders and its arterial tributaries and said: “The River Tweed and its tributaries are home to many species of fish and other wildlife and I welcome this investment by Scottish Water which will protect the Tweed for the future.

“Local communities in the Borders depend on the Tweed for fishing, tourism and farming and this move by Scottish Waters will maintain the river’s unique natural environment and ensure that its waters remain clean and wildlife friendly.”

VisitScotland’s regional director, Sandi Hellowell added: “The River Tweed plays a crucial part in attracting visitors to the Scottish Borders, particularly for walkers, cyclists and of course fishing enthusiasts with the water quality being a key factor so this is a welcome investment by Scottish Water.”

Among those most directly benefiting from this significant investment programme will be the regions anglers, who come rain, hail or shine pit their wits against the majestic salmon.

And speaking on behalf of the River Tweed Commission, clerk Nick Yonge Clerk said: “The River Tweed Commission welcomes investment by Scottish Water which will improve the environment of the Tweed. Fishing on the Tweed relies on high water quality in order to make the significant contribution to the Scottish Borders economy of £18 million and almost 500 full time job equivalents.”

Les Page, senior construction manager with Solutions, who will be playing a leading role in these projects said: “The Tweed is one of Scotland’s most renowned rivers and is known as a mecca for anglers the world over for the quality of its salmon. This significant investment will yet further improve the natural environment of this ‘queen of rivers’.

“Over the next few years this programme of work will deliver long term benefits to the Tweed and many of its tributaries. Scottish Water’s £11million investment will deliver important environmental benefits and play a part in supporting the important local tourism economy for many years to come.”

At Swinton, improvements to the Leet Water which flows into the Tweed include upgrading existing equipment, some of which dates back around 30 years. A new pumping station and dosing facility will also be included as part of this significant investment.

Other projects will be carried out at Galashiels, Gala Water, Hawick, Stow and Clovenfords.

These projects are part of Scottish Water’s rolling programme of work to benefit the Tweed and the communities living and working on its banks.

Scottish Water has already completed the construction of a new waste water treatment works at Sprouston which replaced the old septic tank solution. This investment improves the quality of the Tweed as it flows through this part of Roxburghshire.

In recent years other investment has taken place at Melrose and Lilliesleaf aiming to improve the natural environment of the Tweed and its tributaries.

Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s regional community manager for the Borders believes future generations will benefit from this significant programme of investment: “The River Tweed is the lifeblood of the Borders, and plays a significant part in the lives and wider economy of the communities which stretch along its rich banks. The Tweed is among the world’s most renowned salmon fishing rivers, drawing thousands of tourists to the region every year.

“Scottish Water’s £11million investment to improve the natural environment of the Tweed will deliver tangible benefits to these communities for many, many years to come.”

Geoff Aitkenhead, Scottish Water’s asset management director concluded: “This significant programme of work across the Borders is part of Scottish Water’s ambition to be among the very best water companies in the UK, generating innovative ideas and driving productivity. Our massive investment programme contributes to the economy by supporting around 5,000 jobs in the civil engineering, construction and design sectors.

“We have continued to support new housing and business developments during challenging economic times.

“We look forward to the next five years of this current investment programme during which we will deliver further improvements and increasing value for money for our customers.”