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County Councils should apply for EU funding to help flood-affected communities

Recent flooding across the South East has put paid to many people enjoying the festive and New Year season and now more rain threatens to continue the misery long into winter.

key_floodcar.pngCatherine Bearder is calling on County Councils to apply for EU funding to rebuild and develop flood defences.

The EU Solidarity Fund, which has a budget of up to £414 million for 2014, was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major national disasters.

When the 2007 floods hit, the UK was granted £134 million from the fund to help with the clean up process, but this can only be applied for by national governments.

Lib Dem MEPs have sought and obtained assurance from the EU commissioner responsible for regional policy and the EU Solidarity Fund, that the UK could apply for solidarity funding, or utilise EU Regional Development Funds towards flood prevention infrastructure in the future.

After being informed in a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government that the national government would not be applying for EU funding, the South East Euro MP has written to County Councils encouraging them to apply for EU Regional Development Fund money.

An online petition has also been set up for people wishing to join the campaign. A hard-copy of this petition is also available for circulation.

Catherine Bearder, Lib Dem Euro MP for the South East, said:

"Whole swathes of the South East have been affected by these horrendous floods which have blighted the festive and New Year season for many local residents.

"The Government have decided against applying for the solidarity funds. I think it is now the job of County Councils to apply for regional funds. I have every faith local governments have seen first-hand the personal expense and upset these floods have caused people and the fear people live in for the future.

"This funding could prove vital, it could ensure defences are built so people no longer have to worry every time clouds appear over head.

"I am now offering Councils my full support and assistance to apply for funding on a regional basis to aid with building defences for the future. The requirements for this funding are less stringent and it can be directed more easily. This will ensure a safer and drier South East when future storms hit."

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