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Caithness News Bulletins January 2005

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COUNCIL TO SEEK EXECUTIVE FUNDING FOR STORM REPAIRS
The Highland Council is to seek support from the Scottish Executive to repair storm and flood damage to property, roads, bridges, car parks and harbours caused by the severe weather experienced on 11/12 January.

The Council is required to meet the first 500,000 of the repair bill but, once a full assessment is made of the damage, it will apply to the Scottish Executive for 85% funding towards the cost of emergency repairs.

Members of the Transport Environmental and Community Services were told that the storm damage was extensive, especially in the West Highlands, most notably in Skye and Lochalsh, Wester Ross and Lochaber. Flooding occurred at Caol, Inverness and Thurso, while there was damage to harbours at Gairloch, Kinlochbervie and Uig.

Committee Chairman Councillor Charlie King paid tribute to the magnificent response of the TEC Services staff to the emergency. His views were echoed by committee members. Just as soon as an estimate of damage was calculated it would be reported to committee.

He said: "Our staff rose brilliantly to the challenge of the recent exceptionally severe weather. Along with other emergency services, they worked in very difficult conditions to clear numerous roads of rocks and trees and restore normal service in our communities. There was also widespread structural damage.

"We can assure the public that we are giving top priority to repairing storm damage. We will be allocating more funds for short-term repairs and in the longer-term identifying funding for flood and coast protection. We will be seeking financial assistance from the Scottish Executive - once a full assessment of the damage has been completed.

"We must also be aware of the impact of climate change and the greater likelihood of extreme weather and prepare an action plan accordingly.