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North Yorkshire County Council faces massive repair bill after floods
8:35am Friday 5th October 2012 in News
A team from Yorkboat pump water from the sunken narrow boat on the River Ouse. Pictures: Sian Gardiner
FINANCE bosses in North Yorkshire fear they will be left with a massive repair bill following the floods which have caused havoc across the region.
North Yorkshire County Council is assessing the full cost of last week’s flooding, which led to villages being cut off and roads being closed, damaged bridges and schools and forced some people to leave their homes.
The authority could make a bid for compensation from the Government’s Belwin scheme, which allows local authorities to apply for funding to cope with unforeseen consequences, but believes most of the repair work will have to be paid for from its own coffers at a time when it is having to make sweeping savings.
Some areas of North Yorkshire saw more than a month’s rainfall in a single day, and the issue will be discussed at a full meeting of the council next week.
In a report, Coun John Watson, portfolio holder for financial services, said he hoped to have an estimate for the cost of the work by that time.
He said the council had started the year in “a strong budgetary position”. Coun Watson said: “It is, frankly, just as well.
“The recent floods have caused widespread damage for which the council will be responsible. Some compensation will be available through the Belwin scheme, but the majority of the repairs will need to be funded by the council itself.”
In his statement ahead of the meeting, council leader John Weighell said: “We are still pulling together the assessment of costs for the county council, and I hope the Government will reimburse at least a portion of these costs.”
The council’s corporate services portfolio holder, Coun Carl Les said the authority would consider whether there were any “lessons learned”.
Meanwhile, work was under way on the River Ouse yesterday to recover a barge which sank near Lendal Bridge amid last week’s deluge. Teams inflated large yellow airbags and pumped water from inside the barge back into the river through large pipes in their attempts to rescue it from its submerged state.
The operation was being carried out by staff from Yorkboat, with most of the work concentrating on the rear section of the boat as the front half has remained visible above the Ouse’s surface.