MEASURES designed to help home and business owners protect their properties from future flood events were approved by EDDC’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (8 May).

Members agreed to to give delegated authority to the Chief Executive to administer the East Devon elements of a scheme that forms part of a nationwide Government initiative prompted by the devastating storms and floods experienced during the past winter.

The Government has launched a number of initiatives to assist householders and business recover from flooding and make their premises more resilient to future bad weather.

Grants Councils have been invited to administer several schemes to:

• Provide grants to householders and business owners to protect their properties;

• Offer Council Tax and Business Rate relief;

• Provide small ‘one-off’ grants called the Business Support Scheme.

The offers are available only to owners of properties actually flooded between 1December 2013 and 31 March 2014 and for work designed to prevent future flooding as opposed to work that should be covered by insurance.

Guidance issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government working with Defra means councils can administer the scheme on behalf of the Coalition.

EDDC’s local scheme is based on guidance issued in March and is mostly concerned with administration of the Repair and Renew Grant, which councils can award and then claim back from Westminster.

Members were told it was possible that up to 50 householders and businesses might be eligible for assistance in East Devon, and that up to 30 could be expected to apply.

The Council has already received a number of enquiries – mainly from business – and staff have processed several Council Tax and Business Rate discounts.

In addition, EDDC has received £10,000 to distribute as Business Support in the first phase of local funding, and EDDC’s Economic Development team will allocate this funding with advice from Business Information Point (BIP).

The new policy will supersede EDDC’s website information issued in February.

Impact Councillor Jill Elson, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said: “This scheme will in a modest way help our householders and businesses to recover from the devastating impact of being flooded.

“The winter of 2013/14 has seen the country battered by extreme weather conditions – from tidal surges affecting the coast to prolonged and extensive flooding in what was the wettest winter in over 250 years. This resulted in many areas remaining on high alert for extended periods as the emergency services, supported by local authorities, statutory agencies and local residents, battled to protect communities.

“In view of the exceptional circumstances and the scale of the damage caused by the extreme winter weather, the Government has introduced a range of schemes to assist communities and businesses to recover and to help local authorities meet the costs associated with protecting lives and properties in the future”.