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Angus still counting cost of storm impact on council budget

The cost of dealing with the winter storm will fall fully to Angus Council.
The cost of dealing with the winter storm will fall fully to Angus Council.

Angus Council is still totting up the cost of the winter storms which visited the district with a vengeance.

And the authority must pick up the entire tab for clearing up after Arwen, Malik and Corrie.

The area’s damage bill doesn’t meet the threshold for lifeline cash support from the Scottish Government.

Storm Malik
Storm damage at Edzell. Pic: Paul Reid

The Bellwin Scheme is designed to help councils through emergency events.

But although the storms are thought to have had a six-figure impact, the rules don’t allow a claim for a series of incidents.

Trail of destruction

Storm Arwen in November tore through Tayside in November.

It was followed by a fresh battering from Storms Corrie and Malik in quick succession at the end of January.

The storms left some communities without power for days.

A resilience centre at Eassie was pressed into operation in Arwen’s aftermath.

Country parks closed after hundreds of trees were toppled by ferocious winds.

Crombie Country Park in Monikie in the aftermath of Storm Arwen.

And the storms had a major impact on private businesses including Forfar and Edzell golf clubs.

They were amongst the worst hit courses in the country.

Threshold not met

The council say costs will be contained within its own budget.

And no Bellwin claim was submitted

They said: “Under Bellwin, additional revenue support is only available when thresholds are exceeded following a single emergency incident and not an accumulation of events.

Storm Malik
Trees downed by Storm Malik near Forfar. Pic: Graham Brown.

“Thresholds were not exceeded as a result of any of the recent individual extreme weather events.

“The impact of the storms on Angus Council’s finances will be contained within the overall financial results for ‘21/22.”

Annual accounts are now in preparation, the council said.

MSP’s disappointment

North East region MSP Liam Kerr is disappointed the full bill will have to be met by the council.

“The storms left many Angus residents without power and tore through parks, golf courses and the road network,” said the Scottish Conservative.

Edzell storm
Engineers faced major challenges in restoring power to some Angus communities. Pic: Paul Reid

“So many will be surprised Angus won’t get any support from the SNP following Arwen, Corrie and Malik.

“The Bellwin scheme was promised as a sticking plaster for the financial burden caused by the storms.

“And the Deputy First Minister was all over the media pledging assistance to local authorities.

“But it’s been left to Angus Council to foot the bill, once again.”

Scottish Government response

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Angus Council did not inform the Scottish Government of any emergency incidents within the criteria of the Bellwin Scheme during 2021-22.

“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.

“In the event that expenditure on large scale emergencies exceeds the Bellwin threshold, the Scottish Government provides 100% of any additional eligible expenditure which fully protects the local authority’s council tax payers from any additional payments.”

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