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12 December 2015

Cumbria hits the ground running with flood recovery

Cumbria’s multi-agency Strategic Recovery Co-ordination Group is now moving into top gear with plans to get the county back up and running as quickly as possible.

The group, chaired by the county council, brings together district councils, the Environment Agency, Police, Health, Lake District National Park, Cumbria Community Foundation, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and central government representatives. Its role is to lead the county’s recovery effort and ensure all agencies are pulling in the same direction and focusing on the top priorities.

Nine sub-groups have been established to lead on the following areas:

-          Community recovery: directly working with communities to help them help themselves

-          Infrastructure: including assessment and repair/rebuild of roads, bridges, utilities and facilities

-          Business and economy: including support for business affected (both large and small) and “open for business” campaign

-          Skills and learning: managing the significant impact on schools and pupils and including schools moves and transport

-          Environment: covering flood defences, river clearance, Rights of Way, farming and other landscape impacts

-          Finance and legal: including costing the financial impact, managing support arrangements with government and administration of grants programmes

-          Health and welfare: responding to the impact on social care and health services to ensure people continue to get the support they need

-          Housing: focusing on ensuring accommodation for people in need and supporting people in returning to their homes

-          Communications: ensuring that the public continue to be informed about what’s going on and how they can access support and advice

Initial priorities have been established for all of these groups and consideration is now turning to medium and long term recovery.

The co-ordination group will next meet on Monday and is liaising closely with the equivalent group which has been established in central government. It will be important as the county moves forward that close contact is maintained with central government as there will certainly be an need for further and ongoing financial and practical support.

Diane Wood, Chief Executive of Cumbria County Council, said:

“Cumbria has bounced back from situations like this before and we’ll do it again. We’ve got everyone round the table, we have a clear plan and we’re now starting the long road to recovery. I want to be clear that, while there’s a lot to do, Cumbria is very much up and open for business. I have no doubt that with the resilience and resourcefulness of the Cumbria communities we’ll emerge from this even stronger.”

Lake District National Park Chief Executive, Richard Leafe, said: “We are keen to emphasise the message ‘Cumbria is open’, in support of our communities and businesses. The majority of places are still open and accessible.

“We are asking people to check routes in advance and will be sharing information on temporary rights of way closures, closed for safety reasons, on our website: www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/cumbriafloodsthis external link will open in a new window. Our rangers are continuing to assess damage and help communities with their recovery.”

Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said:

“These floods have devastated some of our communities and the big clean-up has started. I’ve been out and about across Allerdale this week, and I’ve been stunned by the damage caused, but also impressed by the fantastic work being done by all the organisations involved to help those who have been affected. Our crews have been out and about collecting waste and cleaning the streets. We’ve also had officers in the centres at Flimby, Cockermouth and Keswick as well as out and about in Workington, Aspatria and Wigton and other areas to give out advice and help. Residents and businesses have shown true Cumbrian spirit in their resilience, and their determination, to get back on their feet. We will do whatever we can to help you. And for those who choose the area as a place to visit, we remain very much open for business – as this weekend’s Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth shows.”

This is an archived copy of a news release originally published on www.cumbria.gov.uk