Council appeals to Government for help with flood repairs

Old Beer Road damage

Posted on: 17 August 2012

Devon County Council is appealing for support from the Government to help the county recover from this summer’s floods.

The severe weather in July has left Devon with a clean-up and repair bill which is expected to exceed £5million.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, calling for emergency help that extends beyond the Bellwin Scheme, which only covers clean up and temporary repairs costs.

The heavy rainfall and flooding last month caused significant damage to the county’s roads, with East Devon and the South Hams hardest hit. Old Beer Road in Seaton has remained closed since 12 July after a section of it collapsed.

Across Devon, bridge parapets were damaged or completely washed away, footpaths and rights of way were eroded and at Axmouth a wooden footbridge was washed out to sea. Highways teams were left clearing a catalogue of landslides, debris, and blocked drainage ditches and drains.

Councillor Hughes said: “Devon has endured a number of serious weather events this summer, which has not only led to a series of clean up operations but also considerable damage being caused to our highway network. The Council is applying for help through the Bellwin Scheme, which helps with temporary repairs and clean up costs in excess of £1.7 million, but it takes no account of permanent repair costs.

“We’re working hard to try to restore our highway network, however if support isn’t forthcoming from central government it will put significant pressure on the County’s budgets. We have 8,000 miles of roads in Devon to maintain, and the network has again suffered at the hands of the weather. There should be similar emergency funding to the Winter Damage Grant where we received £12.9million over two years in 2010 and 2011 after repeated severe winters. This proved extremely valuable, helping us to target the worst affected areas, and enabling us to have a major impact on our local roads.”

Devon County is continuing to hold flood surgeries, organised with the Environment Agency, East Devon and South Hams District Councils, to provide residents and local businesses affected by the flooding with the opportunity to share their views and experiences with officers from all of the local authorities. Surgeries have already been held at Modbury, Yealmpton, Axminster, Sidmouth and Harbertonford, and the next event is at Exmouth Town Hall on Tuesday 21 August from 12noon to 7pm.

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Posted in: Environment