Winter storms caused £2million in damage

The scale of the damage done to Dumfries and Galloway by recent storms has been revealed in a report to the council.

Members of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee were shown the report that estimates costs have reached around £2 million.

This included the costs for the response and recovery to the flooding caused by Storm Desmond and Storm Frank in December.

It is thought this cost will rise as officers continue to inspect buildings, halls, roads, bridges and other infrastructure to assess the damage following the floods.

Council officers are still visiting the worst hit parts of the region, helping individuals who have had to leave their homes.

Since the flooding, business advisors have also been out and about knocking on all the doors of businesses affected by the floods, speaking to owners and staff and providing details of available support.

Chair of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Colin Smyth, said: “The emergency response was one of the biggest in recent years and ensured we kept people safe and they received the care they needed.

“However, weeks on council staff continue to work round the clock to help families and businesses that are still suffering.

“We have prioritised our response and have been putting people first.

“We have had council staff out meeting local businesses in the flooded areas, speaking to the owners and identifying the issues.

“Staff have also been out to meet people in the worst affected residential areas, some who are still out of their homes, to identify what help they need.

“The level of support being provided is unprecedented but we are committed to helping as best we can.

“A dedicated helpline is running and specific pages of information on flooding support is on the council website.”

Council officers also met with the Government last week to discuss how support and financial relief announced for Storm Desmond would be extended so that we could use this to deal with the impact of Storm Frank, and could get this out to those households and businesses who need it now.

Over the weekend, the Scottish Government committed £1million of grant support for owners whose properties were flooded in the region but along with the £700,000 for Storm Desmond, confirmed this would not be paid to the council until March.

However, they agreed that if the council paid out grants in advance of receiving the funding they would not be penalised .

Councillor Smyth welcomed the announcement at the weekend.

He added: “I’m furious that there have been false claims that the council are holding up payments of grants.

“The initial promised support from the Scottish Government was only for Storm Desmond.

“We called on the Government to extend the support to those hit by Storm Frank and I’m pleased they agreed to do so.

“By the beginning of the week we were paying out grants ahead of other councils in Scotland.”