March 10 2014 Latest news:
Norfolk Community Foundation development and marketing manager Anna Douglas and finance manager Olive Thompson with some of the many cheques that have come in for The EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Monday, January 20, 2014
The Norfolk Community Foundation and Eastern Daily Press will be invited to Whitehall to talk about the lessons that can be learnt following the flooding which hit Norfolk and Suffolk last month.
Flooding minister Brandon Lewis praised the work of emergency services, local authorities and schools, who worked through the night, but also said credit was due to the Norfolk Community Foundation and the EDP following the flood appeal which was launched in the wake of the surges, and has now raised more than £180,000.
Mr Lewis is set to meet East Anglia local authorities on January 27 to discuss the problems caused by the tidal surges, but told the House of Commons he would also be inviting the EDP and NCF to talk about the response and what more needed to be done.
The issue was raised by North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham during Department for Communities and Local Government questions this afternoon, where he told MPs that work done on repairs to defences was nearly all finished and was “absolutely fantastic”.
But Waveney MP Peter Aldous said the flood defences were “very badly damaged” in the storm surges, and raised concerns that costs would not automatically be covered by the government’s Bellwin Scheme to reimburse councils.
He said: “Can the minister confirm that in the meeting he will be having with local authorities he will be working with them to make sure these repair works are carried out as quickly as possible to ensure these communities can get back on their feet as quickly as possible?”
Mr Lewis said Mr Bellingham was right to highlight the excellent work done by the local authorities, emergency services and I would also stress the voluntary groups and schools who worked through the night aswell.
Adding: “There is particular credit also due to local organisations such as the Norfolk Community Foundation and our great Eastern Daily Press who have worked to campaign for the local communities. I will also inviting them in aswell to talk about the lessons they have learnt and what more we can do to make sure the recovery goes smoothly.”
He said that the Bellwin Scheme was only part of the funding available to communities and the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs would be addressing the issues of flood defences in the coming weeks.