Record rainfall runs up a £1M bill

The Borders is counting the cost of last year’s record-breaking rainfall, writes Sally Gillespie.

Peeblesshire, Selkirkshire and Berwickshire were the wettest since Met Office records began more than 100 years ago, while in Roxburghshire rainfall was the third highest the area had ever experienced.

A Scottish Borders Council (SBC) spokesman said: “To date we have spent about £1million across the whole spectrum of services provided by the environment and infrastructure department. Costs are still being accrued.”

Met office figures show Peeblesshire had 1,602.6mm of rain over 2012, the highest rainfall in the area since records began in 1910 and, at 129 per cent, it was between a quarter and a third wetter than average. The second wettest year was 2011, seeing 15mm less rainfall, with 2008 the third worst.

Selkirkshire saw 1,613.3mm of rainfall during last year which, at 120 per cent, was about a fifth wetter than average. Again, 2011 was the second wettest with 1602.4mm and 2008 the third.

Roxburghshire recorded 1,416.8mm of rain, its third highest year on record. The wettest with 1453.2mm was 2008, followed by the amount which fell during 1916. The rainfall was 129 per cent of the average, about a quarter to a third wetter.

Berwickshire experienced a year-and-a-half’s worth of rainfall in 2012 when 1,208.3mm was chalked up throughout that period – 146 per cent of the average. The county’s second and third wettest years were 1916 and 2008 (1064.8mm) respectively.

SBC’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Gordon Edgar, said: “It’s been quite serious for the council – there has been a lot of damage to roads.”

The worst single – and individually most expensive – case was the flooding of Jedburgh town centre in August when around 50 homes and businesses were affected after the Skiprunning Burn culvert choked with debris and overflowed in a matter of minutes. But, cumulatively, roads damage was the most costly to the council, said the SBC spokesman.

Last year’s weather has meant a greater public awareness of being prepared for flooding.

The spokesman added: “There was a huge take-up of our Resilient Communities plans. The perception was that these were for winter weather and we continually reinforced the point that they are for all-year events, which last year proved correct.”

Meanwhile the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) is urging the region’s producers to seek help if they need it.

Incoming vice-president and Lilliesleaf farmer Rob Livesey said: “We know many farmers are struggling to cope. NFUS works closely with the rural charity, RSABI, who run Gatepost, a confidential telephone service for farmers, and we would encourage anyone finding things too much to get in touch with them on 0300 111 4166.”