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Winter 2015 floods: government response

Posted by Tracy Seward

Winter 2015 floods: government response

Government departments, councils and the Environment Agency are working together to do everything they can to respond to the recent unprecedented rain across the North of England, and to help communities recover from the extreme weather during December 2015. Government support for homes, businesses, farmers and councils In total the government’s investment in recovery from Storm Eva and Storm Desmond now amounts to nearly £200 million.

Households and businesses The government will:

  • help the people directly affected by the floods – providing Local Authorities with over £500 for each household affected; for example, to help with temporary accommodation costs whilst people get back into their homes – further details on this were announced on 19 December 2015 by the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • support people as they protect their homes against future floods by providing grants of up to £5000, so they can install new flood barriers, replace doors and windows with water-resistant alternatives, or move electricity sockets up to a safer level
  • ensure flood-affected businesses that have had their trading disrupted can get back on their feet, with funding equivalent to £2,500 provided to Local Authorities for each business affected and funding specifically provided for farmers to help restore their land.

The Communities and Business Recovery Scheme is run by local authorities and will provide targeted support on the same basis as in the floods in 2013 to 2014. Businesses caught up in the devastation of Storm Eva will be able to apply for £6 million of government money to get their doors back open to customers. Local Growth Hubs have more information and should be contacted on how to access business support. Flood affected communities will not face Council Tax or business rates bills for their homes and businesses for as long as they are out of their properties.


Farmers affected by the recent flooding in Cumbria, Northumberland, Lancashire and Yorkshire can get grants worth up to £20,000 to help restore damaged agricultural land. The government has published the form and guidance you’ll need to apply for the Farming Recovery Fund. Farmers experiencing difficulties getting online can call the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.

The Rural Payments Agency has published guidance about farm inspections, animal movements, TB testing, impacts on Basic Payment Scheme eligibility, and other Cross Compliance requirements. The NFU has produced a newsletter for members affected by the flooding in the North East and North West. It contains information on where advice and funding are available to help with the recovery operation. Local authorities The government has opened the Bellwin scheme for councils affected by floods resulting from storms Desmond and Eva. Under this scheme, councils can apply to have 100% of their costs above threshold reimbursed by the government. Roads, transport and flood defences The government has announced that it will provide £40 million of funding to help repair flood-damaged roads and bridges in Cumbria and Lancashire. It is providing an additional £10 million so that the Environment Agency can repair flood defences that were damaged by Storm Desmond and has announced a package of more than £40 million to rebuild and improve flood defences in the aftermath of Storm Eva. Of this, £10 million will be reserved to improve the Foss Barrier protecting York, which was overwhelmed at the height of Storm Eva. The other £30 million will be spent repairing defences on the Wharfe, Calder, Aire, Ouse and Derwent. It will include repairs to pumping and barriers and clearing blockages in rivers.

Charities The government will support charities helping those caught up in each of the two recent storms by matching every pound of the first £2m raised in each case. Applications can be made by any registered charities that are currently running a fundraising appeal for flood relief to benefit each of the affected areas. Sports facilities Sport England has an emergency flood relief fund now amounting to £400,000 to help people repair sports pitches and facilities destroyed by this winter’s unprecedented rainfall. This will help clubs, local authorities and other community sports organisations in affected areas to help pay for emergency repairs to damaged facilities such as rugby and cricket pitches, water sports centres, pavilions, changing rooms and floodlights. Government action on flood defences helped to protect 11,000 homes across the north of England and provided vital time for homes and businesses to be evacuated as well as reducing the impact. Over the next 6 years, the government will be investing £2.3 billion in flood defences which is a real-terms increase in the £1.7 billion invested in the last Parliament. This, in turn, is a real-terms increase in the £1.5 billion spent between 2005 and 2010. In addition, flood maintenance spending will be protected in real terms over this Parliament.

Flood insurance The insurance industry is responding with help for homeowners. The Association of British Insurers has published a film on how to protect your home if you live in a flood-prone area, or make a claim if you’re recovering from a flood. You can find more information on the Association’s website.

Praxis42 news is provided in partnership with Barbour EHS

Gov.UK January 2016

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