Northumberland County Council calls on MPs for flood funding support

Flooding in Morpeth earlier this month.
Flooding in Morpeth earlier this month.

Northumberland County Council is calling on local MPs to help push for extra government support in the wake of recent flooding.

While the Government has provided funding for those affected by flooding from Storm Desmond and Eva, it has rejected a request that additional funding will be provided through the council for subsequent flooding incidents.

Northumberland saw flooding of properties as a result of Storm Frank on January 5 and 6 and the council is using its own funds to provide the same levels of support to homes and businesses affected by this flooding.

At least 14 further residential and business properties have been affected in the county since Storm Desmond and the council has agreed to provide £500 per household community recovery support; £2,500 business support grant and up to £5,000 per residence or business property to build flood resilience. The council is also applying council tax discount and business rate relief for properties affected due to the flooding

Northumberland is now calling for further support from Government to help it support these residents and businesses in the county that have been affected by flooding.

Council leader Grant Davey has written to local Conservative MPs Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Guy Opperman asking for their support in pushing for fair funding for all residents and businesses which have been hit by the flooding, following recent offers of support they have made through the press.

He said: "We are committed to helping all homes and businesses affected by flooding in an equitable manner. The name of the storm does not lessen the personal impact caused or alter the level of support needed. We strongly believe that we should be supported by the Government in helping everyone affected by flooding, whatever the cause, and we are calling on our local MPs to help.

"In other parts of the country, such as Cumbria, the Government is providing financial support to Highways England to repair their roads and bridges. We do not need assistance from Highways England – what we need is capital funding from Government to enable the council to repair our infrastructure and rural road network damaged by the recent flooding, with costs currently estimated at more than £24m.

"Many of these repairs are to roads which provide a vital, and sometimes the only link between isolated communities. It is essential that residents, businesses and visitors are able to travel freely around the county and are not faced with the prospect of additional costs and longer travelling times due to the damage to our transport network.

"We have had very positive discussions with senior officials within the Department for Transport who have taken to the time to visit Northumberland and see first-hand the significant extent of the flood damage to our highway infrastructure.

"We have now submitted details of the repairs required and are seeking early confirmation that funds will be made available to support us in completing a £24m programme of repair and reinstatement in as short a timescale as possible in order to help reinforce the key messages that Northumberland is back to normal and open for business.

"We have asked our local MPs to help press our case to both the Treasury and Secretary of State for Transport to Department. Ultimately, the county council is finding itself picking up significant additional costs totalling nearly £29m as a result of flooding, through no fault of our own."

The council is also appealing for help to support the county's tourism industry. The Tyne Valley was hit by its biggest floods since 1771 and in the last few weeks communities in north Northumberland have also been badly hit.

Coun Davey added: “Tourism is a significant element of the local economy, particularly linked to visiting Hadrian's Wall with visitors based at Haydon Bridge and Corbridge which were both badly affected by the floods. The area is now also affected by landslips on the main rail line connecting Newcastle to Carlisle.

"While we are aware of the Government's £1m contribution to carry out tailored promotional activity in flood-affected areas, it’s important we get the 'open for business' message across quickly and would welcome the support of our MPs in doing this."