South Scotland

Scottish Borders Council to receive £3.8m for storm damage

Hawick flood damage Image copyright PA
Image caption The funding will meet the majority of the costs incurred through storms that hit the area

Scottish Borders Council is to receive £3.8m from the Scottish government to help deal with the damage caused by last year's storms.

The emergency funding will meet the majority of the costs incurred through storms which caused devastation in the area in December 2015 and January 2016.

The funding comes from the Bellwin Scheme, which gives special financial assistance to councils facing extra costs due to disasters or emergencies.

The council received £2.39m last year.

This was to help distribute funding to ensure that every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water received support.

More than 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.

Image copyright Hawick Flood Group
Image caption Flooding caused widespread damage in Hawick

Paul Wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy, 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 supplements help to 200 households and many local businesses."

He added: "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."

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption Paul Wheelhouse (centre) was in Hawick to see the reinstatement work that has been carried out since the floods

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."

He added: "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."

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