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North Yorkshire MP makes bid for flood cash
A NORTH Yorkshire MP has raised fresh hope of the region securing Government cash to help pay for almost £2 million of repairs following the September floods.
North Yorkshire County Council said last week it had received confirmation that an appeal for funding to help meet the cost of fixing damaged roads and bridges had been turned down and it would have to foot the bill itself.
But Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh, who yesterday secured a Westminster debate over the impact of the autumn flooding on local authorities, said she understood financial support could still be available.
She said there was a precedent for the Government’s Bellwin Scheme – a funding initiative used in case of emergencies – being used to help pay for capital projects, such as highways and bridges.
The county council has said its total flooding bill will be £1.8 million and it now has to find that money within already-stretched budgets – the council is having to save an additional £22 million on top of the £69 million of cuts it was already faced with making. Repairing one bridge which was washed away, at Scorton, near Richmond, will cost £600,000.
Ms McIntosh said: “It is my understanding that the Bellwin Scheme can be used to cover capital expenditure because Government records show funding for the same purpose North Yorkshire is asking for was made to Hull and Gloucestershire councils following flooding in 2008.
“There is a precedent and if anything has changed with the funding formula, or eligibility criteria since then, I want the reasons for any changes to be on the record. Unfortunately we seem to be going round in circles, but this debate has allowed the opportunity to raise issues surrounding floods and funding and I will be taking this further.”
Ms McIntosh said any council bids for Government funding to help repair costs needed to be submitted within three months of the damage being caused, but there were concerns about the logistical difficulties of completing inspection work within this timescale. She also said a new framework for how flood insurance claims are dealt with must be in place before the current one expires next June.