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Massive £900,000 repair bill for Aberdeenshire Council to repair damage from storms

Damage sustained from Storm Arwen.
Damage sustained from Storm Arwen.

Aberdeenshire Council has been left with a massive repair bill of more than £900,000 to fix storm damage across the region.

The council have incurred costs of £906,000 to repair the combined damage caused by Storms Arwen, Barra, Malik, Corrie, Dudley, Eunice and Franklin.

The costs range from repairing roads and pavements, street lighting, fencing and bus shelters to the removal of trees and paying local contractors.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett is now calling on the Scottish Government to provide relief funding to Aberdeenshire Council.

Alexander Burnett, MSP for Aberdeenshire West said: “These costs represent the sheer scale of work which has been delivered by Aberdeenshire Council.’

His appeal comes after it was revealed the council failed to meet the requirements for compensation payment.

In a report to Aberdeenshire Council’s business service committee, officers have said they cannot submit a claim because the amount falls just short of the Scottish Government’s application threshold of £1,075,171.

However, the Scottish Government says authorities are expected to keep cash aside as a contingency in the event of an emergency.

Mr Burnett said: “These costs represent the sheer scale of work which has been delivered by Aberdeenshire Council to repair our communities that have been ravaged by these storms.

“The extreme weather events which have battered the north-east over the last six months are among the worst in living memory and the trauma is still being felt.

‘Neglecting the needs of the north-east’

“The Bellwin Scheme was set up to help local authorities for events exactly like these but it’s scandalous the Scottish Government has set the threshold so high.”

Leading rural insurance company NFU Mutual has also seen claims soar in the wake of the stormy weather.

Officials say claims made for damages caused by Storm Arwen have surpassed £80million.

Storm damage in Haddo Country Park. Picture by Wullie Marr.

Storm Arwen costs

In the wake of Storm Arwen, the Aberdeenshire Council forked out more than £240,000 on business services followed by a further £382,000 on their environment and infrastructure services.

A total of £175,389 was also invested in their housing and revenue account alongside £21,000 to education and children’s services.

Households and businesses across the north-east was impacted by huge levels of disruption during Storm Arwen in November.

Tens of thousands of homes were left without power for days as gale force winds of up to 90mph battered the country.

Go Ape Aberdeen at Crathes Castle in Banchory has been forced to close after the storm cause significant damage to the forest area.

Officials have confirmed the damage to the woodland has left them unable to rebuild the course.

Storm Arwen damage at Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire
Trees damaged at Crathes by Storm Arwen. Photograph courtesy of the National Trust for Scotland.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Aberdeenshire Council has confirmed to the Scottish Government that it will not be submitting a Bellwin claim for 2021-22 as its additional emergency expenditure did not breach its annual Bellwin Scheme threshold of £1,075,171.

“The Bellwin Scheme is a discretionary scheme to give special financial assistance to local authorities which would otherwise be faced with an undue financial burden as a result of providing relief and carrying out immediate work due to large-scale emergencies.

“Local authorities are expected to include a small amount (0.2%) within annual revenue budgets to deal with unforeseen emergencies.”

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