Winter floods cost councils £250m, says LGA

Flood water across the A592 in Cumbria Image copyright PA
Image caption The worst hit council was Cumbria, the Local Government Association said, which faces a £175m bill because of the flooding

Almost £250m worth of damage to roads, bridges, public rights of way and drainage systems was caused by this winter's floods, a survey has found.

The Local Government Association's analysis warns of the cost to councils in England and Wales after Storms Desmond and Eva.

It called for more financial help from the government as the cost was likely to be "much higher".

The government says it has announced an extra £130m to repair infrastructure.

It said it stands full square behind flood-damaged communities.

Widespread flooding and damage was caused by the storms across the UK in December, with Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria in England and central and north-east Scotland among the worst affected.

The government said 16,000 homes were flooded.

Earlier this year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said insurance claims for damage caused by floods this winter will reach £1.3bn.

'Counting the cost'

The LGA said the worst-hit council was Cumbria, which saw about £175m worth of damages to infrastructure.

Its research revealed that Calderdale has a bill of £33m, Northumberland £24m and Lancashire £5m.

Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's environment, economy, housing and transport board, said: "Councils are still literally counting the cost and the final bill is likely to be much higher.

"Government has gone a long way to helping hard-hit communities get back on their feet. But it is clear more financial support will be needed for councils."

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Media captionOwner Carol Pollitt says her pub is still drying out

He called for new flood defence funding to be devolved to local areas and suggested that councils should be allowed to keep landfill tax.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, also said local authorities are facing a landfill tax bill of more than £2.25m as a result of the amount of flood-ruined furniture, belongings and white goods which cannot be recycled and have to be dumped in the ground.

But a government spokesman said the LGA's request "fails to take into account the £130m announced at the Budget to repair roads and bridges damaged by December's floods, with councils able to decide themselves which projects this is spent on".

"Nor does it take account of the £700m additional investment in flood defences, taking total investment to a record £3bn to protect more households from future events," he added.

"This is part of wider measures we're taking to stand squarely behind flood-affected communities for the long-haul."

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