Funding to deal with impact of flooding
£3.8 million for Scottish Borders Council.
Scottish Borders Council will receive £3.8 million of special financial assistance from the Scottish Government to help deal with the damage caused by last year’s unprecedented storms.
The emergency funding through the Bellwin Scheme, will meet the majority of the costs incurred through storms which caused devastation in the area in December 2015 and January 2016.
The Bellwin Scheme is discretionary funding which exists to give special financial assistance to councils who face an undue financial burden as a result of large-scale emergencies.
This funding comes on top of the £2.39 million that was allocated to Scottish Borders Council last year to help distribute funding to ensure that every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water received help.
Over 200 households and businesses received £1,500 grant payments, and 38 businesses received grants of £3,000.
Scottish Government funding is also being made available to the Council to take forward a flood protection scheme in Hawick which was badly hit by flooding in December 2015.
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse announced the funding during a visit on Friday. He said:
“There’s no doubt that the Scottish Borders was among the areas hit the hardest by last year’s flooding which is why this £3.8 million of funding will be welcome news to the council and communities affected by the storms. I witnessed the effect of the flooding in Hawick during Storm ‘Desmond’ and I know how traumatic it was for many here and in communities elsewhere in the Borders affected by the floods.
“This support through the Bellwin scheme will help Scottish Borders Council meet the majority of the immediate and unforeseen costs of the flood damage and supplements help to 200 households and many local businesses.
“The Scottish Government is committed to working to reduce flood risk across Scotland and has committed £420 million over the next 10 years to protect homes in many of our most flood-prone areas including the future Hawick Flood Protection Scheme.”
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has supported this Council by releasing the full funding we applied for through the Bellwin scheme for the eligible costs we incurred during and following last winter’s storms.
“The scale of the damage to the region’s roads, buildings, parks, open spaces, footpaths and bridges was quite simply the biggest challenge we have ever had to date.
“Many of the repair works were challenging and time consuming and I would like to thank our staff for their efforts, and the public for their patience and understanding during what was an extremely difficult and challenging time for the Borders and the Council.
“In the 12 months since Storm Desmond, two flood schemes have been completed in the Scottish Borders and the Hawick scheme is getting closer to entering its next phase before construction. We welcome the continued support from the Scottish Government on these projects too.”
The Bellwin Scheme operates under Section 155(2) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Councils may make applications for additional financial assistance for eligible expenditure over and above their threshold limit under the discretionary scheme.
There is no automatic entitlement to assistance and local authorities are expected to include a small amount within their annual budget to deal with unforeseen emergencies.
The Scottish Borders Council will receive a payment of £3.797 million from the Scottish Government.
Photos are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottishborderscouncil/albums/72157678124421570