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In the face of extensive flooding we have seen first hand how the people of this county work together to help those in need, says Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

Once again, we have seen first hand how the people of this county work together to help those in need, writes Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council.

The arrival of ‘Storm Babet’ in Lincolnshire meant that roughly two months’ worth of rainfall hit our county in a mere 24 hours, leading to extensive localised flooding throughout the county.

As well as surface water flooding from the torrential rain, there was also a knock-on effect on some of the county’s rivers where the volume of water was such that it over-topped and even breached river banks in some places.

Councillor Martin Hill (Con), leader of Lincolnshire County Council
Councillor Martin Hill (Con), leader of Lincolnshire County Council

Between all agencies, we have seen 546 reports of properties suffering from internal flooding, as well as 50 roads having to be closed at some point during the disruption.

I have spent the last few days meeting residents in my local villages which have experienced flooding, to try and understand what happened and some potential solutions. Obviously with the scale of the problem, it will take time to find solutions to different circumstances.

A big thank you to all those who supported their neighbours and friends during and after the storm. The government has recently announced they will be providing financial support and tax relief for flood-hit homes and businesses.

More details on how to apply for this funding will be released shortly, with flooded households able to receive up to £500 to help with costs, and residents or businesses significantly affected eligible for council tax and business rates relief. Small-to-medium sized businesses could be eligible for up to £2,500 to help them recover more quickly.

Property owners may also be able to apply for up to £5,000 to help make their homes and businesses more resilient to future flooding. As we enter the storm season, information about preparing for, responding to and recovering from a flood can be found on the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum website at www.lincolnshireresilienceforum.org . You can also find out how to make a plan that can be used in any emergency in your area.

Although we won’t ever prevent flooding completely, we know that protecting our county and residents from flooding is increasingly important. As a council we have already invested millions of pounds in flood alleviation schemes, with more earmarked for the future.

In the coming months you may hear more about our plans for ‘devolution’ in Greater Lincolnshire. In essence, this is about getting more money from the government for our area and having more say over how national funding is spent here. As a mostly low-lying county with a large coastline, flood prevention is a great example of where we would like to see more investment and decision-making about priority areas.

Keep an eye out for more information about how our devolution plans are progressing and what this could mean for you. Information will be available online and in print during December.

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