Flood money plea for Devon

Estimates reveal the clean up could cost more than �1million.

Devon County Council is calling for emergency Government funding to help with the costs of the weekend’s flood damage.

The announcement was made at a cabinet meeting of the council today (Wednesday).

Initial estimates revealed that the clear up cost will be over �1million and that the repair bill to Devon’s highway network will top �3million.

Those figures are likely to increase as the assessments have so far only been based on around a quarter of the county’s roads, the majority of which have been the major A and B roads.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We will have to apply to the Government for emergency funding under the Bellwin scheme. The overall costs of the clear up will be over �1 million and are expected to increase further, and the repair costs are in excess of �3 million. That is based on just 25% of the network surveyed so far, so these costs are also likely to rise. We have further warnings of more heavy rain for tomorrow and Friday this week so we have to be prepared to expect the possibility of further disruption.”

Councillors agreed to apply for funding under the Bellwin scheme, which can be used where an emergency or disaster occurs, causing destruction or danger to life or property, and resulting in costs to the local authority in taking action to safeguard lives, property, or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience.

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There has been significant damage to highway structures in parts of Devon, with bridge parapets damaged or completely washed away, while some embankments have collapsed and may now require retaining walls.

The damage to Devon’s road network is still being assessed and repair work is being prioritised on the busiest routes, with patching being carried out where the surface has lifted or blown.

Highways teams are also continuing to clear debris, drainage ditches and blocked drains on major roads. Landslides are also being removed from roads.

There is concern about further forecasts of rain for Thursday and Friday, which could hamper the clean up effort and lead to further flooding across the county.

Warnings of possible surface water flooding are being issued with rain crossing the county tomorrow, and more persistent rain on Friday could cause some further river and surface water flooding.

According to the Environment Agency, up to 90mm of rain fell in parts of South Devon and up to 120mm in parts of East Devon overnight on Friday and into Saturday.

Early estimates are that more than 140 properties have been affected by the flooding in Devon, but it is thought that this number will rise.