Town halls mop up flood funds

29 Oct 98
Councils face a multi-million pound bill after the second serious floods this year highlighted insurance inadequacies.

30 October 1998

Many councils are not insured because they use risk assessors to estimate how often such crises will occur and how much the premiums would cost. Alan Greaves, the director of support at Herefordshire Unitary Council, said: 'There are quite a wide range of areas, such as flooding, where we look at the cost of premiums and see if we can budget instead.'

Nationwide, last weekend's clean-up costs are estimated to total £400m.Expenses for emergency relief operations can be reimbursed by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions through the Bellwin compensation scheme. Councils must spend 0.2% of their annual revenue budget on costs for non-insurable items before they can apply for Bellwin money.

If the government then finds that the claims are eligible for the scheme, the DETR will pay for 85% of all expenses beyond the 0.2% threshold.

Costs include the relocation of residents of flooded homes, providing sandbags, closing roads, clearing rubbish and mud away and evacuating people from flooded areas.

Only those operations necessary to safeguard lives or property are eligible for money from the Bellwin Scheme.


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