Floods 'not devastating enough' for Government aid


Councils will not benefit from a flood recovery grant scheme to repair roads and bridges following this summer’s high rainfall, it emerged this week.

Local government minister, Brandon Lewis, said conditions had not been devastating enough to warrant further grant assistance from the Government.

Councils received £200m for repairs last year following destructive weather conditions in 2010. But in a Commons debate, Mr Lewis said this would not be repeated and a balance must therefore be struck between contributions from the Bellwin flood clear-up scheme and local financial reserves.

Authorities have been encouraged to fund flood repairs for roads and bridges themselves while Government continues to provide £3bn for maintenance over the next four years.

‘The department has not considered launching a recovery grant scheme, which has occasionally happened in previous years,’ he said. ‘While the flooding incidents of this summer were locally significant, we did not witness the devastating effects of previous years. Despite the individual stories of loss that we have heard, and our sympathy for those affected, the flooding this year has been on a much smaller scale overall.

Mr Lewis added: ‘Local authorities have responsibility for the local roads in their areas and are best placed to determine their own priorities for funding, which include putting in place reasonable resilience measures and contingencies to deal with any incidents, such as flooding, that may occur from time to time.’

The Government has confirmed consultations will take place with local authorities to confirm area based needs surrounding flood repairs. 

Chris Williamson, shadow communities and local government minister, said: ‘This will be devastating news to those communities that were affected by the severe floods this summer. Local authorities are already suffering under unprecedented cuts to their funding handed down by the Tory-led Government. This is further bad news that will have implications for services that communities rely on.’

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