Northern councils hit with huge bill following winter storms and flooding

Flooded Corbridge in December Credit: Blake Vassallo

This winter's floods caused almost £250 million in damage to roads, bridges, public rights of way and drainage systems, a survey by town hall chiefs has revealed.

The snapshot analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) warns councils have been hit with a huge bill following storms Desmond and Eva and the flooding they brought.

The final tally could be even higher, as councils are still counting the cost of the winter devastation.

The worst-hit council was Cumbria, which saw around £175 million in damage to local authority-owned infrastructure.

Northumberland suffered £24 million damage due to the floods with the Tyne Valley worst affected.

The LGA said Government funding had been important in helping local authorities and communities recover from the floods, but warned councils will need more help as the full cost of damage emerges.

The organisation also called for new flood defence funding to be devolved to local areas so authorities can work with communities and businesses to ensure money is spent where it is most needed.

Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's environment, economy, housing and transport board, said the bill of nearly £250 million is just for damage to key infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Councils are still literally counting the cost and the final bill is likely to be much higher. Government has gone a long way to helping hard-hit communities get back on their feet. But it is clear more financial support will be needed for councils. Other measures from government could also make a massive difference in helping councils. These include allowing them to keep landfill tax and devolving new flood defence funding to local areas.">

Peter Box, LGA

Local authorities have been hit with a landfill tax bill of more than £2.25 million, as a result of the amount of flood-ruined furniture, belongings and white goods which cannot be recycled and have to be dumped in the ground, the LGA said.