Flood help deadline nearing

Flooding at Peebles photographed by Jim Barton
Flooding at Peebles photographed by Jim Barton

Borders residents, businesses, community groups, farmers and charitable organisations affected by flooding during the winter storms have until April 22 to apply for assistance from Scottish Borders Council (SBC).

Funding is available to assist those affected to reinstate their property and protect it from future flooding events by purchasing flood protection materials and carrying out flood resilient repairs.

The flat rate grant is £1,500, with an additional £3,000 available for businesses severely impacted by flooding which affected their ability to trade. These amounts can be increased in individual cases if merited.

The business grants are a one-off payment to offset costs which cannot be covered by existing insurance, for example clean-up costs, materials and exceptional costs to help the business restore trade, such as marketing and promotion.

Farmers are eligible to make a business grant application should they have suffered flood damage to fields, fences, dykes, crops, feedstuff or lost livestock.

Since the grant scheme opened on 15 January, a total of 333 grant applications have been processed, totalling £685,647.

Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council, said this week: “It is pleasing to see a wide range of individuals and groups across the region receive these grants to help them get back to normality after being impacted by flooding.

“I would encourage anyone eligible to make a flood grant application to do so before the 22 April deadline. The Council has attempted to make the scheme as simple as possible and sought to distribute funds promptly once applications are received.”

One farmer who has already had help from both Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government is Colin McGregor of McGregor Farms, Coldstream.

He farms the Lees field, a flood plain on the River Tweed at Coldstream, which was flooded five times over the winter, and had dykes broken through by the force of the water.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from Scottish Border Council in helping to restore the Core Path Network adjacent to The Tweed and The Scottish Government for assistance in repairing our flood defences,” said Colin.

Residents, businesses, community groups, farmers and charitable organisations who have been impacted by flooding during the winter storms can apply for the funding through the Council’s website at www.scotborders.gov.uk/floodgrantapplication or www.scotborders.gov.uk/floodgrantbusiness.

Those affected by the floods can also phone Customer Services staff on 0300 100 1800, who are able to fill out the form on their behalf. Forms are also available from Council Contact Centres.

The winter storms saw evacuations from parts of the western Borders, with Selkirk, Hawick and Peebles particularly badly hit.

Indeed, Peebles was thought to have suffered the worst flooding in the town since 1949, when 25 local residents attended the emergency rest centre at the Burgh Hall.