SB Connect Winter 2016

Rebuilding communities

Last year’s unprecedented wet winter resulted in a total of 96 flood warnings being issued, including
five Severe Flood Warnings – issued only where there is danger to life.

The three ‘named’ storms in December – Desmond, Frank and Gertrude – and a further weather event on 27 January caused widespread infrastructure damage across the Scottish Borders.

Following a significant programme of inspection works, including about 2,000km of roads, almost 400 immediate repairs were identified as eligible for revenue funding through the Scottish Government’s
Bellwin Scheme.

This is a discretionary scheme that gives special financial assistance to local authorities that would otherwise be faced with an undue financial burden as a result of providing relief and carrying out immediate work due to large-scale emergencies.

In total, the Council has now requested £3.9 million through the Bellwin Scheme, with SBC liable for the first £509,000 of works.

Capital funding of £500,000 has also been awarded by Transport Scotland with a further £422,000 of capital investment provided by the Council to replace Bowanhill Bridge, undertake embankment works in Selkirk and replace the Newmill footbridge.

Inevitably, with this degree of work being required, some other works have taken longer to be undertaken.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said: “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.”