Council calls for flood recovery support

Council calls for flood recovery support

Published at 4:35pm 4th January 2016. (Updated at 6:53pm 4th January 2016)

It's estimated that the cost of repairing bridges damaged by surging water in North Yorkshire could run into millions of pounds.

However, North Yorkshire County Council says it needs help from residents and businesses to assess the full impact of flooding over Christmas.

The authority is trying to gather important information about how people have been affected.

County Councillor David Jeffels, Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, said: "We are very conscious that the impact of flooding in many places might have been much worse but for the dedication and determination of the County Council's frontline teams, of communities and multi-agency emergency teams.

"But it is really important that those affected by the flooding get in touch as quickly as possible, so that they can access emergency funding and register for grants being made available by the Government for protection against future flooding.

"We want to get these funds out as quickly as possible so that residents and businesses can get back to normal as quickly as possible. The more we know about the impact and extent of the flooding, and the things that were done during the event to protect property, the better.

"Photos and videos that show the level and extent of floodwater are particularly valuable if people have them. We have a painstaking task ahead of us to assess the impact of flooding accurately.

"If photos of the flood itself aren't available, then reports, diagrams or simple maps are all very helpful in putting together the most comprehensive picture possible of the impact that the flooding has had. We want to hear those stories so that we can learn from them, share them and also to give them the recognition they deserve."

Funding has already been made available to support residents and businesses affected by Storm Desmond at the beginning of December and the Government has pledged support for those affected by Storm Eva over Christmas.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Highways, said: "As river levels fall, it remains unclear what damage inspections of stanchions and arches on the county's 1,600 bridges will reveal, but we will be looking to the Government for financial aid."

Highways managers have been holding meetings with the military, Highways England and the Department for Transport to decide the next steps for Tadcaster's historic bridge which partially collapsed last week.

They have all agreed that building a temporary road bridge is not an option, given the span required, the constraints of the location and the fact that it would hamper repair work.

North Yorkshire County Council is hoping that reconstruction of the bridge can be carried out within 12 months and has estimated that the work will cost around £3 million.

Councillor Mackenzie added: "This bridge was built in the 18th century and its reconstruction will be highly complex and require specialist skills which the County Council's bridges engineers are very well qualified to carry out.

"Unfortunately there is no quick fix and in the meantime we will look at all options to create pedestrian access across the river."

As schools reopen this week, education teams are on standby to provide direct advice and support where needed.

North Yorkshire County Council and the NHS are also working together to ensure that essential health and social care is provided during the recovery period and that hospital beds continue to be available.

Those affected by flooding can get more information and guidance on North Yorkshire County Council's website.

Anyone with information about the impact of flooding can contact the authority by sending an e-mail to floodriskmanagement@northyorks.gov.uk