£12M In New Funding For Flood-Hit Communities

Scottish communities affected by severe weather are to be helped by £12 million of new funding, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The cash includes a £1,500 grant for every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water, and a #5 million fund for councils to replace damaged infrastructure.

The First Minister unveiled the funding boost as she visited the flood-hit north-east.

The area has been battered by heavy rain, causing severe disruption to travel, the evacuation of homes in some parts of Aberdeenshire and two severe flood warnings for Inverurie and Kintore.

It follows flooding across other parts of the country, including Tayside and the Borders, as a result of Storm Frank.

The funding is in addition to the £4 million announced by the Deputy First Minister in his budget statement, bringing the total package of support for those affected by the adverse weather to more than #16 million.

Ms Sturgeon has been under pressure from opposition parties to spell out what extra funding will be allocated to flood relief.

An extra £5.8 million will be made available to support households and business properties.

Councils which have suffered the most damage as a result of the flooding have been allocated a share of the fund, but people in any part of Scotland who have suffered flood damage can apply for a grant.

In addition to flood relief support, businesses whose ability to trade has been severely affected by flooding will be able to apply for an extra grant of £3,000 funded by the Scottish Government and administered by their local authority.

Additional funding of up to £5 million will be made available to councils to replace infrastructure severely damaged by flood waters, including support for the reinstatement of the A93 between Ballater and Braemar.

An Agricultural Floodbank Restoration Grant Scheme of up to £1 million will also be made available to farmers to restore damaged floodbanks, and discussions will continue next week with the industry on how the Government can support them through severe weather.

Ms Sturgeon said: ''In the face of devastation Scotland's communities have rallied together and shown real strength. I have met with some local business owners who have made a real difference by offering vital support and once again I am amazed by the determination and dedication of all of our emergency services who are working around the clock to save homes and livelihoods.

`£We do not yet have confirmation of consequentials coming from UK Government flood funds - however, now that the picture of those who need support is clearer, the Scottish Government is acting now to make sure that the people who need help get it.''

Aberdeenshire Council has been given a £2 million share of the funding, while Aberdeen City Council has been allocated #500,000.

Dozens of homes were evacuated in Inverurie, Port Elphinstone and Ellon in the region as the swollen River Don sent flood waters racing down the streets on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Water also poured from the River Ythan, prompting the emergency services to mount an operation to rescue residents.

The Donside area, Keith, Huntly, Turriff, Kintore and parts of Aberdeen were also affected by the flooding.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it expects river levels to fall gradually, but a spokesman warned of the possibility of ''residual impacts'' in areas such as Kintore and Inverurie.

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