SBC apply to government for financial help following 'major incident'

Published: 15 Aug 2012 10:500 comments

SCOTTISH Borders Council has applied to the Scottish Government for emergency financial aid after parts of the region were devastated by flash floods.

SCOTTISH Borders Council has applied to the Scottish Government for emergency financial aid after parts of the region were left devastated by flash floods earlier this month.

Jedburgh was the worst affected by torrential downpours of rain after a local burn, the Skiprunning Burn, burst its banks on August 5, rising two metres in 15 minutes and leaving the town centre under three feet of water - forcing some residents to flee their homes.

However, the local authority has now commissioned engineering consultants, the Halcrow Group, to investigate the source of the flooding in a bid to plug the problem. They are expected to report back next month.

SBC Leader, Councillor David Parker said: "This was obviously a major incident, and one that caused a significant amount of damage to houses, shops, commercial properties, roads, and in one case a wall forming part of the town's flood defences.

"The Bellwin Scheme (which is managed by the Scottish Government) is in place to help in the aftermath of emergencies like this and due to the scale of the incident the Council believes it has a good chance of securing this additional support."

As yet no figure has been put on the cost of damage. It is understood the council will learn if their claim has been successful within three weeks and, if so, it will then have four months to submit figures.

Around 25 residential and 25 business properties in Jedburgh were affected by the flooding.

Extra council staff were also drafted in to Jedburgh to help with the mop up operation which was continuing this week. And a help desk has been set up at the council's contact centre in the town's Exchange Street to provide advice and information to those affected.

Councillor Parker said: "We are continuing to inspect and identify damage to infrastructure. We are also aware of roads damage in the wider central Borders and this may also form part of any Bellwin Scheme claim."

Alarms for the Skip Running burn's grill sensor were set off at 7.58am on Sunday, August 5, and within 10 minutes flood water was flowing into the town centre.

However, the council this week insisted the grill had been cleared just hours earlier on Saturday evening.

As part of the clean-up operation council staff have been carrying out a range of duties including road sweeping, cleaning gullies and minor road repairs. Council skip-vans also circulated the town to assist businesses and local residents to dispose of any damaged items.

All residential properties affected have been offered alternative accommodation.

And teams of SBC staff have also been visiting all businesses in the town to assess the damage and ensure they have the support they need.

A council spokesperson said: "SBC staff will be present at Jedburgh Community Council's next meeting on Tuesday, August 21, to discuss the community's response to the flooding and to consider the introduction of a community resilience scheme in the area. The meeting takes place at 7pm in the Town Hall and is open to members of the public."

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