UK winter floods cost councils £250 million -what is our LEP’s role in building flood resilience ?

“The final tally could be even higher, as councils are still counting the cost of the winter devastation. The total cost to households and businesses hit by the winter floods could be as much as £5bn, KPMG said in December.

The worst-hit council was Cumbria, which saw around £175m in damage to local authority-owned infrastructure, with costs for flood-hit bridges, landslips, carriageway damage, survey work and the need to build a temporary road on the A591.

Calderdale has a bill of £33m, Northumberland £24m and Lancashire has suffered £5m damage due to the floods.

The LGA said government funding had been important in helping local authorities and communities recover from the floods, but warned councils will need more help as the full cost of damage emerges.

The organisation also called for new flood defence funding to be devolved to local areas so authorities can work with communities and businesses to ensure money is spent where it is most needed.”

This is what our LEP said in February 2014:

Given its strategic role on both economic and funding matters, the Heart of the South West LEP has been asked to lead the Economic Impact and Funding workstream. The workstream will provide an underlying case for funding of immediate mitigation measures and wider assistance, as well as set out evidence for investment in longer term solutions for the levels and moors area.”

In June 2014 a £50,000 grant was given to establish “work hubs” in areas that had experienced flooding in the Mendips:

The only other mention of flooding is in the LEPs response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last year on the same webpage”

We are pleased that the Exeter Flood Defence Scheme, which will help protect around 3200 businesses and residents across the city is taking shape. It’s vital that we take proactive flood alleviation measures to reduce the potentially disastrous consequences that flooding can have for the economy throughout the HotSW area.”

So, don’t hold your breath on the LEP being proactive with funding for flood resilience infrastructure – it has too much invested in the Hinkley C nuclear power plant and far too many “hubs” of all kinds to fund for business (wo)men for “growth” opportunities.