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Surrey should apply for EU flood funding

February 6, 2014 1:46 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems
Flooding at Eashing Bridge in Godalming

Flooding at Eashing Bridge Godalming © http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazjohnson/

Local Liberal Democrat Euro MP, Catherine Bearder, has written to the chief executive of Surrey County Council, David McNulty, to encourage him to apply for EU funding to help rebuild and develop flood defences in Surrey.

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.

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, Catherine is encouraging David McNulty, on behalf of Surrey County Council, to apply for EU Regional Development Fund money.

The Surrey Euro MP has launched an online petition to gather the support of Surrey residents in a bid to demonstrate support for the County Council to take action.

Commenting, Catherine Bearder MEP, said:

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

"The government have decided not to apply for the solidarity funds. I think it is now Surrey County Council's job to apply for regional funds. I have every faith the local government have seen firsthand the personal expense and upset these floods have caused people in Surrey 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 Mr McNulty 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 Surrey when future storms hit.

Commenting, Kelly-Marie Blundell, parliamentary prospective candidate for Guildford, said:

"These floods have been horrendous for a great many residents and business owners. It is absolutely vital we plan ahead for the future.

"It seems the national government have no grasp of how these floods have really affected people, I just hope Surrey County Council does and that they take action.

"The possibility of this EU funding is there. The Council must apply to have any chance of getting it to ensure Surrey is better protected against future floods."

Surrey residents can sign the online petition here