Friday, August 17, 2012
Collapsed road at Seaton and washed away bridge at Axmouth highlighted in county case for extra Government aid
The extent of storm damage across the Axe Valley last month is being highlighted by Devon County Council in a bid to gain extra Government aid.
High winds and torrential rain in July has left the authority with a clean-up and repair bill expected to exceed £5m.
Stuart Hughes, the authorioty’s highways and transportation spokesman, has written to Government minister Eric Pickles, calling for emergency help that extends beyond the Bellwin Scheme, which only covers clean up and temporary repairs costs.
He will tell the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that the heavy rainfall and flooding last month caused significant damage to the county’s roads, with East Devon and the South Hams hardest hit.
He will highlight the case of Old Beer Road, in Seaton, which has remained closed since July 12 after a section of it collapsed.
Across Devon, bridge parapets were damaged or completely washed away, footpaths and rights of way were eroded and at Axmouth a wooden footbridge was washed out to sea.
Highways teams were left clearing a catalogue of landslides, debris, and blocked drainage ditches and drains.
Cllr Hughes said: “Devon has endured a number of serious weather events this summer, which has not only led to a series of clean up operations but also considerable damage being caused to our highway network. The council is applying for help through the Bellwin Scheme, which helps with temporary repairs and clean up costs in excess of £1.7 million, but it takes no account of permanent repair costs.
“We’re working hard to try to restore our highway network, however if support isn’t forthcoming from central government it will put significant pressure on the county’s budgets.
“We have 8,000 miles of roads in Devon to maintain, and the network has again suffered at the hands of the weather. There should be similar emergency funding to the winter damage grant where we received £12.9million over two years in 2010 and 2011 after repeated severe winters. This proved extremely valuable, helping us to target the worst affected areas, and enabling us to have a major impact on our local roads.”
Devon County is continuing to hold flood surgeries, organised with the Environment Agency, East Devon and South Hams District Councils, to provide residents and local businesses affected by the flooding with the opportunity to share their views and experiences with officers from all of the local authorities.
Surgeries have already been held at Axminster and Sidmouth.