Environment

Devon welcomes emergency funding

Posted on: 27 February 2013

Devon County Council has welcomed confirmation from the Government that it has qualified for further emergency funding.

Following a successful lobbying campaign for Government support, the County Council is now expecting to receive a total of around £2.5 million of Bellwin funding towards the cost of temporary repair and clean-up following last year’s floods.

It comes after the announcement from The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that grants will be provided to cover part of the cost of damage caused by flood events in the county in September and December.

Devon is one of only four authorities to qualify as eligible to submit a claim for the September flood event, and one of nine authorities eligible for the December floods.

However, the Government support only covers a fraction of the estimated £12.2 million of flood damage caused in Devon last year – and £4.7 million of those repairs will be carried into the next financial year.

Devon County Council Leader John Hart said: “We lobbied both the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and David Cameron when they visited Devon to see the devastation that the storms wreaked on the county. We have also been working with our MPs so I am delighted that the Government has recognised the problems that Devon faces in this allocation of Bellwin support and in the finance we have had for Exeter’s flood relief scheme and other local schemes across the county. We will keep up our campaign to ensure that Devon receives as much help as possible in clearing up the aftermath of these unprecedented storms and in boosting the long-term resilience of our rail and road systems.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, has raised the issue with the Local Government Association for Government to look again at including permanent repairs in emergency funding.

He said: “We’re pleased to receive Government support through the Bellwin scheme, and of course any help is welcome. But as an authority we will still be left with a legacy of damage caused by the storms of 2012. The damage has been so severe and so widespread, particularly on parts of our road network and bridges, that there are many instances where repairs cannot be carried out within the timescale where it would qualify for Government support. That is why we would still like the Government to look again at the Bellwin funding rules to include permanent repairs.”

Grant aid for repairs required after the flooding in July and November had previously been confirmed by Government and Devon is due to send its bill of around £1.7 million to the DCLG tomorrow (28 Feb).

The County Council has until tomorrow to complete works which are eligible for support from the December floods and claims must be submitted next month.

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