Robert Walker MP (North Dorset) returned to the flood-hit village of Milborne St Andrew, near Blandford Forum, on Thursday to see how residents are coping and what impact action taken by the County Council has had.
Having written to DCC’s Interim Director of Environmental Services two weeks ago underscoring Mr Lord’s theory that the village’s drainage system is the real problem, Bob welcomed yesterday’s decision to bring pumps in to tackle the prolonged flooding on lower Milton Road. With flood water blocking this main route since the New Year and vital services like the local GP surgery and village store hard to access, in Bob’s view action couldn’t have come soon enough.
Bob is hopeful that the Environment Agency and the local highways authority – which has ultimate responsibility for road surface flooding – have now accepted the need for longer term action to increase the resilience of the village’s local drainage network. Whilst recognising that this wouldn’t stop the village from ever flooding again, it might give residents and long suffering local businesses like Gray’s Stores a fighting chance and prevent a repeat of this year’s prolonged flooding.
Bob has also welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of further measures to support homeowners, businesses and local farmers affected by the floods:
- For homeowners: support in the form of grants of up to £5,000 to build better flood protection as they repair their properties.
- For businesses: 100% relief from Business Rates and a tax deferral scheme for those affected by the floods to give them longer to pay their taxes, and again, £5,000 grants to help them improve their flood defences.
- For farmers: Government will be establishing new funding that will release up to £10 million to help them recover from the devastation to their livelihoods.
These schemes are on top of the £130 million in additional investment announced by Ministers on 6 February and the 100% recovery of the costs of emergency measures implemented by local councils under the so called “Bellwin Scheme”.
Bob Walter MP commented:
“Nationally everything possible is being done to help people up and down the country to get through this difficult period. As the Prime Minister said today, money will be no object when it comes to getting the country back on its feet. Although the recovery will take time, the Government is determined to learn lessons and build a more resilient country for the future.”