Flood recovery update

Aberdeenshire Council continues flood recovery work and reassures communities of resilience against future events

Aberdeenshire Council continues to help people recover from flooding caused by storms in December 2015 and January 2016 from providing support with housing, advice to businesses to clearing waste as well as continued work on infrastructure.

The authority has also ensured people have been able to access funding to the total of nearly £2million through various sources.

Chief Executive Jim Savege said: “To date the council has processed hundreds of grant payments and is the only local authority in Scotland to have utilised the majority of its funding allocation from the Scottish Government Flood Relief Fund, which really show how many people have been affected.

“Teams have also been out to repair and clear streets, waterways, homes, roads, bridges and properties to help Aberdeenshire’s communities thrive post-flooding.

“A comprehensive Flood Recovery Plan is in place and alongside partners we are gathering information and learning from the experiences of flooding in Aberdeenshire in order to work with our communities to provide better protection and resilience.

“I would also like to thank all of the community groups and volunteers from local churches to businesses as well as council staff who have helped out and shown enormous generosity during the floods but also who continue to provide support.

“As we look ahead to summer there is still a lot to do around promoting local businesses and more work will take place with our partners too in terms of building greater resilience in our communities against future events.”

Councillor David Aitchison, Chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee said, ““There is still a lot of work to do, but I would like to thank everybody who has supported the response so far.”
 “The resilience of our communities continues to impress, and the determination to overcome the challenges of the last few months is truly inspiring.”

In Ballater, over 100 people registered with the council’s housing service for temporary accommodation and currently there are around 15 people still in temporary homes.

Elsewhere there were 31 approaches for temporary accommodation and of those 17 people are still in temporary accommodation and in total the authority will invest over £220,000 in repairs to council houses.

Across the area many businesses are reopening and have been supported by the authority with advice and grants as well as support with some clear up and repair work.

In Ballater the golf course and bowling club are open as is Ballater Caravan Park which was the site of real devastation a few months ago. 
Businesses have formed a business steering group with support to publicise business activity funded through the council’s economic development team.

The council provided containers for businesses to use and these are still in place and advice sessions with experts have been well-attended. An action plan has been created for the Ballater Business Steering Group as it now looks ahead to longer term town centre revitalisation projects.

In terms of roads and bridges, the council has undertaken a significant programme of inspection and repairs.

Works have already taken place to repair Durris Bridge across the river Dee and the council enlisted the support of the Armed Forces in the removal of debris from the Dee Bridge in Ballater.

With the assistance of 51 Brigade of the British Army, the council has been able to clear a large amount of debris made up chiefly of caravan chassis’ and entangled vegetation.

Around 605 tonnes of waste has been disposed and with the support of volunteers much of this has been recycled.

In addition the council also funded the clear up of Ballater Caravan Park recycling as much material as much as possible.

The majority of Aberdeenshire’s share of the Scottish Government Flood Relief Fund has also been paid to those affected by flooding and over £1.7million has been issued.

The number of households benefitting from the £1,500 grant is 873 and 130 payments have been provided to businesses. In addition, separate business grants of £3,000 from Scottish Government have been paid to 107 businesses.

A collaborative project to provide a central source of distributing community fundraising efforts through Foundation Scotland is also in place and so far over 200 people have received a share of over £200,000 from the Aberdeenshire fund.

The Foundation Scotland Flood Recovery Appeal, supported by Aberdeenshire Council, received donations from organisations across the area to help local communities.

So far 234 awards have been made totalling £212,364 with 115 people in Ballater receiving a share of over £100,000 and over 50 people in Inverurie receiving a portion of around £50,000.

Payments were also made to residents in Aboyne, Banchory, Braemar, Crathie, Durris, Echt, Ellon, Fintray, Insch, Kemnay, Kintore, Maryculter, Methlick, Newburgh, Newmachar, New Pitsligo, Port Elphinstone, Strathdon, Torphins, Turriff and Westhill.

Foundation Scotland’s Flood Recovery Appeal will now close for applications on Friday, May 27.  Individual households and community groups can get more information and apply for funding at: https://www.foundationscotland.org.uk/flood-recovery-appeal/apply-for-funding/