Devon among handful of counties to receive extra flood repair funding (From This is The West Country)
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Devon among handful of counties to receive extra flood repair funding
DEVON County Council has welcomed confirmation from the Government that it has qualified for further emergency funding following the devastation of last year's floods.
Following a successful lobbying campaign for support, the 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 projects.
It comes after the announcement from The Department of Communities and Local Government that grants will be provided to cover part of the cost of damage caused by heavy flooding in the county in September and December.
Devon is one of only four authorities to qualify as eligible for funding to submit after the September floods, and one of nine for the December's deluge.
However, the Government support covers only a fraction of the estimated £12.2million repair cost caused by flood damage in Devon last year – £4.7million of which will be carried out in the next financial year.
Engineers have been working to complete the repair projects eligible for funding by the end of February, after which the council must submit all claims by the end of March.
Grant aid for repairs required after further flooding in July and November had previously been confirmed and the county is due to send its bill of around £1.7 million to Westminster this week.
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 support.
"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.”
Cllr Stuart Hughes, the council's 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.”