Councils battered by summer rains look for ways to recoup costs

30 Aug 19

Local authorities in the North and Midlands are still counting the cost of the heavy rains that have fallen across the region over the past few months, they have explained to PF.


Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire councils were among local authorities severely hit after an unusually wet summer for parts of the UK.

The Met Office reported that rainfall was 114% above the average in July, with north-west and central England worst affected.

At the start of August, 1,500 residents were evacuated from the small town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire for fear that a dam at the Toddbrook Reservoir would burst.

The government announced a week later that it would stump up £5.25m to aid recovery for businesses and communities in the area.

It also said it would activate its emergency Bellwin scheme for Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire. The scheme allows local authorities to claim up to 100% of their costs in dealing with an emergency situation.

Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, told PF: “As with all the agencies involved, we’re still assessing the costs involved, including commissioning an RAF Chinook, which doesn’t happen every day.

“Central government has offered its support, and we’re assessing whether we’ll be able to recover some costs through the Bellwin scheme.” In Lincolnshire, more than 500 homes were evacuated in the market town of Wainfleet after two months’ worth of rain fell in three days in the second week of June. Norfolk County Council is carrying out an independent investigation into the flooding in the town.

Lincolnshire told PF it has submitted all the necessary documentation for a £527,299.04 Bellwin funding bid.

The claim is for costs incurred by the fire and rescue services, which come under the control of the council in Lincolnshire. The government will reimburse the county’s fire and rescue services for emergency costs above £47,000, although the council will have to pay this initial £47,000. Costs incurred included rescue teams and high-volume pumps. Colin Davie, Lincolnshire’s executive member for economy and place, said: “It’s vital Wainfleet gets its fair share of the Bellwin fund to help it get back on its feet.”

Heavy rain in North Yorkshire at the end of July flooded properties and destroyed bridges at Grinton Moor and Cogden Beck. The Department for Transport has given the area £3m to rebuild the bridges

Barrie Mason, assistant director for highways and transportation at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We will consider all funding opportunities available as the recovery work progresses.”

A spokesperson from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs responded to PF: “Flooding and coastal erosion can have terrible consequences for people, businesses and the environment.

“That’s why we are already providing £2.6bn over six years, delivering more than 1,000 projects to better protect 300,000 homes.”

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