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Suffolk: Councils count cost of dealing with the power of the sea

PUBLISHED: 18:00 14 January 2014

The aftermath of the tidal surge at Shingle Street

The aftermath of the tidal surge at Shingle Street

© Copypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast,

Dealing with the North Sea flood surge which left a trail of damage in Suffolk’s communities has cost the county’s coastal councils more than £250,000.

At present Suffolk Coastal and Waveney are having to dip into their emergency funds with great uncertainty over whether national government will help with the bill for the flood response operation.

Both councils have been left around £130,000 out of pocket following the surge in December.

Businesses and homeowners along many parts of the coast suffered flooding, with Snape, Waldringfield, Felixstowe Ferry, and Martlesham among those areas worst hit.

The A12 at Blythburgh was closed until the waters receded, and nature reserves and farmland have suffered severe damage, some habitat feared irretrievably harmed.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said: “The capital costs for ourselves and our partners at Waveney are about £130,000 each, and we are still calculating other associated expenditure.

“We have both registered for the Bellwin Scheme (of emergency financial assistance to local authorities) and we are waiting to see if we can get anything back or not from this.”

Bellwin has traditionally been seen as a response to incidents in which bad weather has caused threats to life and property beyond all previous local experience.

At present the councils are using money from contingency funds put aside into their reserves for emergencies.

There is also the prospect of seeking other streams of funding to pay for the flood operation – including the investigation of possible European money for areas hit by the sea.

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