7:59am Wednesday 14th November 2012
By Mark Stead
GOVERNMENT transport chiefs are to be asked to provide North Yorkshire with “exceptional funding” to help with repairs in the wake of September’s flooding chaos.
The heavy autumn rain which drenched the region led to some of the worst floods in a decade, with at least one bridge now needing to be replaced and many roads requiring significant repairs, according to North Yorkshire County Council.
The authority’s executive will be told next week that its bill for dealing with the aftermath of the flooding is likely to be £1.8 million and that while it is looking to secure outside funding to help with the costs, nothing has yet been guaranteed.
Its chief executive, Richard Flinton, has already written to the Department for Communities and Local Government to outline the clean-up situation in North Yorkshire, and the council’s corporate director for business and environmental services, David Bowe, is also to appeal to the Department for Transport for it to consider providing funds for infrastructure repairs. The authority is already facing £69 million of budget cuts and recently warned it may have to save another £22 million to balance its books over the next two years.
A report on the council’s finances which will go before next Tuesday’s executive meeting said the flooding had caused “significant damage”, with the majority of the costs relating to repairs to roads and bridges.
“At this stage, no external financial help towards these costs has been identified or assumed, although every attempt is being made to secure such funding,” said the report by Mr Flinton and Gary Fielding, the council’s corporate director for strategic resources.
It also said the Government had been “notified” of the impact of the North Yorkshire floods with a view to seeing whether any money will be available through the Bellwin scheme, which provides councils with financial help towards the costs of dealing with emergencies. However, the report said the possibility of such a claim succeeding was “very restrictive” as the scheme only covers “short-term patching up” and not “capital” schemes, such as road and bridge repairs, while the council must pay £1.4 million towards the costs itself before qualifying for any help.
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