The Borders has reacted warmly to the announcement by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, that more than £12 million in new funding will be made available for areas hit by the recent floods.
Councils will get £5 million or extra capital, and grants of £1,500 will be made available for each affected household, business or charity.
NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said in response that “Prevention is better than cure”.
“The damage seen on Scottish farms up and down the country has been extensive and the job of restoring flood banks and clearing up the debris will be costly and time consuming, However, that restoration work is absolutely necessary to restore flooded land to its productive capacity. The full picture will not be known until the waters recede but it goes without saying that, for a good number of farmers, the effects will be felt for much longer.
“The financial support to help to restore some of the damage is much appreciated and we will work with Government over the next few days to ensure that this money gets to where it most needed.
“We also look forward to holding talks with Scottish Government and our environment agency SEPA in the coming days on what measures can be taken to better protect houses, businesses and farmland from flooding in the future.”
He continued: “Prevention is better than cure and measures that allow farmers to better manage their watercourses will be a critical part of the solution. All stakeholders need to learn lessons from these dreadful floods and work together to ensure greater resilience to such flooding events in the future.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is keen to remind farmers and land managers that help and advice is always available to those who need to carry out essential repair work to bridges, banks, roads etc. near and in rivers.
SEPA’s Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn, said: “The recent flooding we have seen has caused significant disruption, damage and heartache across large parts of Scotland. I want to make sure that everyone knows SEPA staff are here to provide any help and advice that people need.
“We appreciate that there is a lot of work that needs to be carried out to help get things working again, and in some cases significant repair work will be necessary. Contrary to some reports there is repair work that can be carried out without the need for authorisation from, or contact with, SEPA. This includes works to repair or replace like for like structures that have failed or washed away, dredging small straightened ditches, and removing vegetation and fallen trees. If you’re unsure whether the work you want to carry out fits into this category you are always welcome to contact one of our offices and talk it through with one of our officers.
“There is more significant work that will need a registration or licence and we operate a fast track process to ensure rapid authorisation if required in emergency situations. If you’re considering this kind of work I encourage you to discuss your proposals as soon as possible with your local SEPA office where our officers are ready to assist.
“Wet weather is continuing over parts of Scotland and we are still working closely with all parties in Local Resilience Groups. This work will also continue during the recovery phase. We do appreciate that there is a wider discussion about routine river maintenance and will continue to participate in these discussions after this incident is over.”