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Funding to deal with impact of flooding

Published: 27 Jan 2017 00:01

£2 million for Aberdeenshire Council.

Aberdeenshire Council will receive more than £2 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 go towards meeting costs incurred through Storm Frank 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 million that was allocated to Aberdeenshire Council last year to administer funding to ensure that every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water received help. Over 1,000 households and businesses received £1,500 grant payments, and 145 businesses received grants of £3,000.

Local authorities in the north east also received more than £10 million funding this financial year to take forward priority flood protection schemes in their areas.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced the funding ahead of a visit to the north east on Friday. He said:

“There’s no doubt that Aberdeenshire was among the areas hit the hardest by last year’s flooding which is why this £2 million of funding will be welcome news to the council and communities affected by Storm Frank.

“This support through the Bellwin scheme will help Aberdeenshire Council meet some of the immediate and unforeseen costs of the flood damage.

“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.

“We also recently commissioned research into the long-term impacts of flooding on communities such as Ballater, which will identify what more can be done to help people recover from flooding in the future.”

Co-leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Richard Thomson said:

“The effects of Storm Frank continue to be felt in Aberdeenshire more than a year after the event, with much work still to be done locally.

“To date, we’ve spent somewhere in the region of £12 million to help communities recover, from assisting families returning to their homes, to businesses re-opening their doors, and repairing the damage to our roads and bridges.

“The money we will receive through the Bellwin Scheme will certainly be a big help in recouping some of the costs that the council have incurred.”

Co-Leader Councillor Alison Evison said:

“We are seeing a real sense of optimism in our communities as we enter a new year, with community spirit stronger than ever. The money that the Scottish Government provided directly to families and administered by us, was, I know a huge help to those with emergency costs to cover.

“We will continue our support for the communities that have been affected, both in terms of practical support and in providing advice on increasing resilience against severe weather. As this work goes on we are also progressing major flood protection schemes in Huntly and Stonehaven.”

Background

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.

Aberdeenshire Council will receive a payment of £2.06 million from the Scottish Government.