Tempers flare over Water of Leith defence scheme


EDINBURGH is heading for another trams-style fiasco as spending on its flood defences appears to be spinning out of control.

The cost of the Water of Leith defence scheme, which is set for completion later this year, will reach £29.1m – a total of £12m over the original estimate.

The project – like the construction of the trams – has been hit by disputes between the council and its main contractors.

Critics claim the contract drawn up by Edinburgh Council with contractors was too vague, leading to a dispute with Lagan Construction.

The scheme was initiated after about 500 properties were flooded in 2000,  which caused an estimated £25m of damage.

Edinburgh put aside £17.8m for the scheme, including £11.5m for construction and the rest for design and compensation.

The construction bill has now hit £23.5m and the the budget for homeowner compensation has soared from an anticipated £229,000 to £1.1m.

The city’s Tory spokeswoman on transport said it was another example of the council’s blundering over drawing up contracts.

She said: “This is another embarrassing hangover for poor contract construction, where we have had to go back and renegotiate with a contractor.

“We need to look at exactly how this happened, and why we keep getting unfavourable contracts, because it’s not delivering value for the taxpayer.”