Government to hand over extra £6.7m to help flood-hit regions

Damage to the Sandy Beaches holiday village at Spurn Point in East Yorkshire
Damage to the Sandy Beaches holiday village at Spurn Point in East Yorkshire
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The Government has announced an additional £6.7m to help local councils deal with the damage caused by the recent flooding and severe weather.

The announcement came after the Local Government Association called on the Government for help in meeting repair bills to roads, coastal defences and other infrastructure running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

The LGA wants the Department for Transport to create a highways maintenance emergency fund, similar to one created following similar severe flooding in 2007.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said the new money will build on financial assistance already made available, including funds under the Bellwin Scheme, which enables councils to apply for help in exceptional circumstances.

“I have been hugely impressed by the efforts of the emergency services, local authorities, voluntary organisations and communities through the recent severe weather and now we are helping areas to recover and see life return to normal,” said Mr Lewis.

“This extra £7m that can be used to help affected communities, will provide local authorities and their partner agencies additional resources they need to support recovery.

“This will top up support councils can get under the Bellwin scheme to cover the costs of clearing up after severe weather and flooding, and the substantial funding councils already get for potholes.”

The severe weather seen over the winter caused extensive problems for the east coast of Yorkshire, with a nature reserve at Spurn Point and a sea wall at Scarborough being damaged.

The LGA’s environment and housing board chairman Mike Jones said: “Councils have worked round-the-clock since the bad weather began last month to protect residents and minimise disruption and will continue to help those who remain affected by flooding.

“The severe weather has left behind a daunting trail of destruction for councils to clear-up and fix.

“We were already facing a £10.5bn repair backlog to bring our highways up to scratch and the damage to our roads by this recent flooding will be considerable and costly.”

He went on: “While we are pleased the Bellwin Scheme will be activated, the fact remains that Bellwin is severely limited as it does not cover most capital costs.

“An emergency highways maintenance fund would provide essential support to those councils who now face hefty and unexpected repair bills as a result of the flooding.

“These bills are likely to place significant financial pressures on already stretched council finances and it is vital that local communities are not left to suffer as a result.

“Local communities and local economies need to recover as quickly as possible.

“This can only be achieved through extra government cash which covers repairs excluded from the Bellwin Scheme.”

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “In 2010 the Government carried out a major review into how we cope with extreme weather.

“This followed the travel disruption and damage caused to roads by the snow and ice during the previous winter.

“But this year’s experience shows we need to look beyond the cold and consider further how we keep Britain moving when are confronted with floods and gales.”

The news comes after the Yorkshire Post revealed earlier this month that many communities in Yorkshire were being offered derisory sums as compensation for flooding damage.

Just £900 was offered to the whole of North Yorkshire.

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