Councils will be reimbursed for immediate cost of floods, environment secretary Owen Paterson says.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson Environment secretary Owen Paterson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
10:58 AM

Councils will be reimbursed for the immediate costs of the storm surge, environment secretary Owen Paterson has said.

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In a statement to parliament today Mr Paterson said the government would spend the next few days discussing what further help was needed for communities to “quickly get back on their feet”.

He said communities secretary Eric Pickles had set up the Bellwin Scheme to help the local authorities.

The environment secretary also paid tribute to emergency services and the community spirit which saw people rally round to help their neighbours as he said sea defences were put to their greatest test in 60 years.

In the statement he said the country was organised and prepared, adding: “The government is grateful for the excellent response from our front line emergency services. I pay tribute to the community spirit of ordinary people who have rallied round to help their neighbours in difficult times. I want to particularly praise the work of the Environment Agency, Met Office and Flood Forecasting Centre. There were also many Local Authorities which worked tirelessly to prepare for and respond to the surge as it happened.”

Mr Paterson, who chaired three meetings of the emergency committee COBR last week, said the government was able to plan and coordinate the response to ensure the focus was on protecting communities at risk and the key infrastructure that supports them.

More than 160,000 homes and businesses received a flood warning and advice ahead of the surges, and about 18,000 properties were evacuated last Thursday in coastal towns across the country.

Mr Paterson said: “The extreme conditions of last week put sea defences to their greatest test in 60 years. Record tidal surge levels were experienced at many locations, including at North Shields, Whitby, Hull, Immingham and Dover. In Wales, Rhyl was badly hit with 250 properties affected. Some parts of the East Coast experience such circumstances only once every 500 years.”

8 comments

  • BG, the Bellwin Scheme may or may not apply to some of the affected areas and even if it does, it will only cover 85% of the costs leaving the remainder to come from council budgets. Given that most county councils in the East are already suffering enormous financial strain from the restrictions imposed on their budgets by the government I feel that my cynicism is justified.

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    Bad Form

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Flood damage victims need early settlement of claims and no further prejudice.This is a big test for the supposed agreement between government and the insurance companies.Will they live up to their promises?

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • All fine I guess-unless the badgers change the goalposts.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Defra have been cutting the Environment budget for years, flood defences will remain inadequate in Norfolk and the rest of the country, and the policy will be pay out after you're flooded. Very short-sighted indeed.

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    Honest John

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • Announcing more sticky plaster soothing, when we need a national coast and flood protectiopn poliucy which buys us time here in the East, a policy which safeguards our estuaries for the next 150 years and allows a controlled inundation. If this storm would have been 48 hours longer, the whole of the eastern coast would have been flooded extensively, with probable breaches in the Wash dyke system and more loss of life.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • On the face of it a welcome announcement by a government minister but until the exact extent of what needs repairing or replacing is known it may prove to be nothing more than empty words. Watch this space!

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    Bad Form

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • @ Bad Form - May I suggest you read pages 5 to 8 of the Bellwin Scheme which may change your rather negative comments.

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    BG

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Bellwin scheme, poppycock, what we need is a nationally funded coastal and flood defence policy, not a roll of sticky plaster.Cut the defence budget and defend the realm, here at home. Cut the road transport budget for all I care because if we do not buy time against these storm surges, we will loose more land. There is no positive inityiative from our insurance giants, just cheap talk from all political parties.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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