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Cornwall Council still unsure if it will get storm repair funding

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

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CORNWALL Council is still waiting to hear whether it will be able to claim money from Whitehall to cover the £21.4 million of damage caused by storms.

It has been warned that it is also facing a backlog of £200 million in road maintenance costs.

A report which had been due to go before the council's Cabinet yesterday detailed the efforts made to claim money from the Government and Environment Agency to cover the cost of damage between December and March to roads, footpaths, sea defences and buildings.

However, council leader John Pollard withdrew the item from the Cabinet agenda, saying the report needed more work and refinement and the funding situation was "fluid and complicated".

In the report, the council said it remained unsure how much money it might be able to claim under the Belwin scheme, which offers funding to local authorities for repairs as a result of weather - but that the sum could be as little as £823,000.

An announcement is still awaited on an application made to a national pot of £130 million being administered by the Environment Agency, while a scheme run by the Department for Transport has allocated £10.7 million to Cornwall Council to make good damage caused by flooding.

Mr Pollard told the Cabinet there would still be a shortfall and the council was working on how to cover it.

The report puts the total cost of highways repairs from the storms at about £5 million, largely at Calstock and Coverack.

However, it cautions: "This funding should also be put in the context of Cornwall's highway maintenance backlog, which before the recent storms was estimated at £200 million.

"Although this funding will enable the council to catch up on its highway planned maintenance, with further cuts in revenue funding the council will be unable to fund planned revenue maintenance at the levels required and will slip further behind on its backlog maintenance, as well as being unable to progress innovative schemes to enable stronger resilience in our highway network."

The report outlines four options ranging from "do nothing" to "repair all damaged defences with improvements in key locations".

The council would prefer the latter but is dependent on government funding.

The report included a copy of a letter Mr Pollard wrote to the Prime Minister last month appealing for help over Cornwall's claim for funds.

He highlighted Mr Cameron's declaration at the time of the storms that "money is no object". However, it has been widely reported that the Prime Minister qualified that comment by stating it only related to emergency repairs required while the storms were happening, not afterwards.

Mr Pollard asked Mr Cameron to address the important issues facing Cornwall and ensure funding was in place for repairs to be completed before what he called the "crucial" summer holidays.

He concluded: "Basically, I call on you to honour your promise to fund all the storm damage within Cornwall."

At yesterday's Cabinet meeting Mr Pollard said: "I want to give my assurance to the people and communities of Cornwall that we are doing everything possible to deal with the consequences of the recent storms.

"Our determination is to get as much done as we can before the start of the school holidays and to make sure that everything is safe by next winter."

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  • Taxman100  |  May 10 2014, 1:46PM

    I agree with nickthompson. We should not however forget the staggering amount we pay annually to the corrupt EU; part of which is returned to us piece meal and for which we are supposed to feel eternally grateful! After 19 years of trying the EU has yet to have its financial audit approved.

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  • nickthompson  |  May 10 2014, 11:02AM

    "Cornwall Council still unsure if it will get storm repair funding"-------------------------------------------------------------------I believe we can count ourselves very fortunate if we do, whilst we wait for our governments final decision rejoice in the fact that part of the tax you pay goes towards the 10.3 BILLION POUNDS we give away in so called foreign aid.

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