Joint Committee on Draft Civil Contingencies Bill First Report


ANNEX A

SUMMARY OF PAST BELLWIN GRANT PAYMENTS

1. The Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance to local authorities was given a statutory basis in Section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

2. Since 1983 it has been activated several times in each financial year. On two occasions there were emergencies of a wide ranging nature but in other years the number of cases arising has totalled less than 10 in any one year and the amounts of grant claimed less than £1 million. Amounts paid by way of Bellwin grant over the last 15 years were as follows (in several years most of the money paid was in respect of incidents reported in the previous year):

1987/88 - £20m (Severe snows and hurricane)

Severe snows in Kent and Norfolk, 1987: Conditions in Kent were estimated (from Met Office observations) to be a one in 30 to 50-year event.

`Hurricane' of 16 October 1987: The scheme was activated on 21 October 1987.

1988/89 - £6.2m (Storms)

Amounts paid in this year were final claims arising out of incidents occurring in the previous year.

1989/90 - £0.6m (Storms and floods)

Storms of 16/17 December 1989 and 25 January 1990: Ministers agreed to activate the scheme on the day of the 25 January storms based on information to hand at the time. Ministers extended the scheme to cover expenditure incurred by authorities in the south-west following storms in December.

1990/91 - £4.9m (Floods)

Storms of 16/17 December 1989 and 25 January 1990: Ministers agreed to activate the scheme on the day of the 25 January storms based on information to hand at the time. Ministers extended the scheme to cover expenditure incurred by authorities in the south-west following storms in December.

1991/92 - £0.3m (Floods)

1992/93 - £0

1993/94 - £0.2m (Storms)

North Norfolk DC - storms of 20/21 February 1993: An activation was approved on the basis that the met office considered the storms to have a return period in the area of around 17 years.

Cornwall - storms and floods, 9/12 June 1993: A scheme of assistance was established in respect of flooding in Cornwall in early June 1993, which followed exceptionally heavy rainfall. Conditions were reportedly the worst for generations. Many homes had to be evacuated.

1994/95 - £0.6m (Floods and landslides)

Floods in West Sussex - January 1994: This activation of the scheme took place in respect of widespread flooding in West Sussex after a period of exceptionally heavy rainfall in late December 1993 and January 1994. The NRA confirmed that this was a once in 200 year event in West Sussex. Around Chichester groundwater levels reached their highest since records began in 1836, and evacuating people from their homes was necessary on three separate occasions. The Department received requests to activate the scheme from three authorities, and paid a total of £597,100 in grant.

Floods and Landslides on the Isle of Wight - January to February 1994: The scheme was activated for South Wight Borough Council when it was activated for West Sussex, and in respect of the same period of rainfall. Severe frosts followed this rainfall, which caused several massive landslides and more than 100 cliff fall incidents.

1995/96 - £0.1m (Unexploded bomb and fire)

Unexploded bomb on the Island of Portland - 1 to 3 April 1995: A Bellwin scheme was activated for Weymouth & Portland Borough Council for the costs of dealing with a 1000lb unexploded German WW2 bomb found on the Island of Portland. These costs included evacuation of 5000 residents from 1000m radius around the bomb, housing for 2000 evacuees in nearby holiday camps, overtime for council employees and the some additional policing costs. This was the largest such evacuation since WW2 and the first time the Bellwin scheme has been activated for a non-weather related incident.

Fire on Thorne Moor near Doncaster - 25 August to 19 September 1995: Ministers activated the scheme for the South Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority for the costs incurred during an extensive fire on Thorne Moor between 25 August and 19 September 1995. Costs included staff overtime, hire of extra equipment, increased fuel costs and additional maintenance costs resulting from the exceptionally heavy use of equipment during the emergency.

1996/97 - £0.2m (Storms and flooding)

Storms in Torbay - 20-24 January 1996: A scheme was activated to reimburse costs arising from exceptional storm conditions in January 1996.

North Norfolk - Storm on 19 February 1996: North Norfolk District Council requested the activation of a scheme following flooding and damage during a storm on 19 February.

Flooding in Folkestone - 12 August 1996: Activation was approved to assist Shepway District Council with emergency costs incurred following severe flooding in Folkestone. On 12 August an intense rain storm caused widespread flooding in the Ashford and Shepway District Council areas. Rainfall was particularly heavy in Folkestone, where 97.7mm was recorded in less than two hours - estimated by the Met Office to be a 1 in 500 year event.

Storms in North Devon - 28 October 1996: A scheme was activated in respect of costs incurred by North Devon District Council following exceptional storms on 28 October 1996. The Met Office estimated the wave height (10 metres) resulting from the particular combination of wind and sea conditions as a 1 in 50 years occurrence. It caused significant damage to sea defences and placed life and property at risk. The Council estimated its qualifying expenditure at £108,000 (£87,000 above its Bellwin Threshold). In the event, eligible spend did not exceed its threshold and no grant was paid.

1997/98 - £0.17m (Storms and flooding)

Amounts paid in this year were final claims arising out of incidents occurring in the previous year. In addition, a further £0.13m was paid as special grants. These included payments to Tower Hamlets and Manchester in respect of terrorist attacks.

1998/99 - £0.44m (Floods)

Easter floods scheme. 11 authorities received grant in respect of the Easter floods of 1998. They were: Wychavon DC, Northampton PA, Warwick DC, Stratford on Avon DC, Worcester City Council, Warwickshire CC, Northampton BC, Cherwell DC, Melton BC, Huntingdonshire DC and Herefordshire DC.

Other schemes were announced later in the year for the Autumn, January and February floods. 4 authorities received grant: Shrewsbury & Atcham, Worcester CC, South Lakeside DC and Ryedale.

In a separate scheme North Wiltshire DC also received a Bellwin grant

1990/00 - £0.35m (Floods)

Amounts paid in this year were final claims arising out of incidents occurring in the previous year.

2000/01 - £4.1m (Floods, unexploded bomb and plane crash)

14 authorities received payments following the activation of the scheme on 3 November to cover the severe weather events between 1st October to 31 December 2000. They were : Bridgnorth DC, Canterbury City Council, East Sussex CC, Elmbridge BC, Lewes DC, Maidstone BC, Newark & Sherwood DC, Shropshire CC, Tonbridge & Malling BC, Wealden DC, West Sussex CC, Woking BC, Wyre BC and York City Council. 5 other schemes were activated that year for: Herefordshire DC, Melton DC, Wear Valley DC, Copeland DC and East Sussex Police. These were in respect of separate flooding incidents from previous years, an unexpected World War II bomb and the plane crash at Stansted in December 1999.


 
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