Borders given extra £3.8m to help pay flood damage bill

editorial image

Scottish Borders Council is to be given a £3.8m payout to help cover the cost of damage caused by last winter’s storms.

The emergency funding, being paid out by the Scottish Government via the Bellwin scheme, will pay for work required in the aftermath of the flooding that hit the region in December 2015 and January 2016.

This latest payout follows the £2.39m given to the council last year to ensure that every household, business or charity directly affected by flooding could be helped out.

More than 200 households and businesses were given £1,500 grants, and a further 38 businesses received payments of £3,000 apiece.

Scottish Government funding is also helping pay for flood protection works in Hawick.

South of Scotland SNP list MSP and business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the funding during a tour of the town last 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 £3.8m 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 it supplements the help given to 200 households and many local businesses.

“The Scottish Government is committed to working to reduce flood risk across Scotland and has committed £420m over the next 10 years to protect homes in many of our most flood-prone areas, including the future Hawick flood protection scheme.”

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, the 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 continued support from the Scottish Government on these projects too.”