East Anglia: Councils may not meet threshold for flood help


Tidal flood damage at Fox’s Marina Ipswich this morning.

Callum Maclean
Tidal flood damage at Fox’s Marina Ipswich this morning. Callum Maclean

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
5:16 PM

Departments across Whitehall will meet today to discuss if more needs to be done to help areas hit by flooding as some councils claimed it was unlikely they would be able to claim back central government cash.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

In a statement to the House of Commons environment secretary Owen Paterson said a scheme to reimburse local authorities for their immediate costs, including operating rest centres and funding extra staff hours, had been enacted.

While the payback policy, known as the Bellwin Scheme, could help the hardest hit councils, they will have to reach a certain threshold if they are to claim back any money.

But Mr Paterson said that in the next few days the government would be discussing with every local authority area affected what further help is needed.

A cross-Whitehall co-ordination meeting will be held today to assess the national picture, and ministers could meet next week.

Large parts of Suffolk and Essex were affected by last week’s floods –with property damaged and people forced to leave their homes.

Waveney District Council – which includes areas such as Lowestoft and Southwold – said it was almost impossible to put a figure on what the response and recovery would cost.

But other councils hit by the floods, including Norfolk County Council and West Norfolk Council said they thought they were unlikely to reach their threshold.

The Bellwin Scheme will only pay out if costs exceed 0.2% of a local authority’s revenue budget. If this threshold is met then 85% of the costs will be paid out.

In his statement to the House of Commons Mr Paterson, who chaired three meetings of the emergency committee COBRA, also praised the “excellent response from our front line emergency services”.

He said: “I pay tribute to the community spirit of ordinary people who have rallied round to help their neighbours in difficult times.

“I want to particularly praise the work of the Environment Agency, Met Office and Flood Forecasting Centre. There were also many local authorities which worked tirelessly to prepare for and respond to the surge as it happened.”

He also said that a full assessment of the impact on agricultural land and sites of special scientific interest would take place over the coming weeks.

1 comment

  • I didn't read anything in the report about the people suffering because of the floods. It would be nice if the emphasis was on helping the families that have lost their homes and all their possessions, and those that have lost their businesses and jobs due to the flooding. Our Government rightly sent funds to help the disaster in the Philippines, and reimbursing local councils is good, however, the priority must now be for the families and individuals suffering here at home; they need cash now to rebuild their lives. If the Government is helping them directly please report it so we can share some good news for a change. The sites of special scientific interest can wait a while until mother nature repairs them.

    Report this comment

    David isaac

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...
iwitness24 Your news is our news Facebook Like your local paper Twitter Join the conversation Ipswich Borough Council

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT