Government help to be sought for tornado clean-up


TAMESIDE Council is set to ask for Government assistance to help meet its costs incurred after the borough was hit by a tornado.

Work is still being done to clear fallen trees and repair damaged properties after the T5 storm ripped through Dukinfield and Stalybridge on Wednesday, December 27.

But The Correspondent understands the authority is likely to approach the Government to find out if it qualifies for the Bellwin Scheme.

And if it does, it will not make any money from what has happened.

The Bellwin Scheme can be activated if an emergency or disaster involving destruction of or danger to life or property occurs and means extra costs for a local authority.

Damage in Millbrook

According to guidance, it can be agreed if, ‘as a result, one or more local authorities incur expenditure on, or in connection with, the taking of immediate action to safeguard life or property, or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience, in their area or among its inhabitants.’

Ministers at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will decide whether the Bellwin Scheme is applicable and if they say yes, strict rules on what it can be used for apply.

They state: “The Bellwin scheme is intended to reimburse the cost of local authority actions taken in the immediate phase of an emergency, not those taken as part of the recovery phase.

“The scheme is not intended to fund longer term repairs or costs. This is reflected in the eligible spending period of one month from the date when a qualifying incident comes to an end.

“Incidents that qualify for support should be exceptional. For the most part they should be events outside of previous experience in the local authority area. It is also reasonable to expect councils to cover costs themselves up to a certain level.

“Bellwin has traditionally been seen as a response to exceptional bad weather events that has caused threats to life and property.

“Costs associated with road resurfacing will not be eligible for Bellwin Scheme funding and will be excluded from any submitted claim.

Stalybridge tornado Aftermath

“However, Bellwin will assist in helping fund immediate costs including emergency clear-up operations on the highway (such as debris clearing), signage, street lightning and tree removals.

“The Department for Transport recommends local highway authorities continue to retain a contingency from the funding it receives from central government to help repair roads that may have been damaged through weather incidents.”

It is not simply a case of Tameside Council waiting for the Government to pay before action is taken.

To qualify, it is required to have spent 0.2 per cent of its calculated annual budget on works that have been reported to the Department for Levelling Up as eligible for a grant.

Stalybridge tornado Aftermath

Guidance adds: “In order to meet the basic statutory requirement, expenditure must have been incurred by a local authority in England on, or in connection with, the taking of immediate action to safeguard life or property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience, in its area or among its inhabitants as a result of the incident(s) specified in the scheme which involved the destruction of or danger to life or property.”

Among items normally expected to qualify are occasions where repair is insufficient, like the removal and replacement of street lighting, street signs, bus shelters and other street furniture, fences, railings that were damaged and present a danger to public safety or security.

Also, clearing fallen trees and other objects causing obstruction or damage to highways, pavements and footpaths, hire of additional vehicles, plant and machinery that are not already in use and incidental expenses to carry out such works.

Tameside Council leader, Cllr Ged Cooney

Additional temporary employees or contractors, to work on the emergency or replace permanent employees diverted from normal work and special overtime for employees, either during the emergency for overtime worked on the emergency itself, or afterwards to catch up on work from which they were diverted.

Any costs of evacuating people from dangerous structures, and temporary rehousing, costs of providing emergency supplies of food and other emergency provisions and key services to affected communities during the period of the emergency can also be covered, among other things.

It cannot claim for anything that would be covered by people’s home insurance and anything that would normally be met by its budget or a Government programme, like maintenance of law and order or housing safety and maintenance.

Only extra work in the immediate aftermath or within one month of the tornado happening can be covered.

It is thought an application may be made within the next month.

3 Replies to “Government help to be sought for tornado clean-up”

  1. It was obvious by lunchtime the day after the night before that Tameside council and their so called partners in surrounding authorities were incapable of a coherent and widespread response for the people of Stalybridge and should have contacted Westminster that day.
    Now days later when there is money to be leached for their Ashtoncentric coffers they engage.
    An abomination and betrayal of us all.

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