BUDGET: Government could pass on big flood bill

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COASTAL residents could be forced to foot a big bill for flood defences.

COASTAL residents could be forced to foot a big bill for flood defences.

Lincolnshire County Council fears residents could face much higher council tax bills if it is forced to find the cash to protect the east coast defences, which protect Boston and a host of coastal villages.

Coun Eddy Poll, executive member for economic development, said: “The Government believes local communities should be responsible for funding flood defence schemes.

“While this principle works for localised schemes, it is a blunt instrument when applied to deprived communities living in a location that contains significant national assets, such as the Lincolnshire coast.

“This local contribution would need to be raised by local councils. This might mean future increases in council tax if we can’t find sufficient funds to pay for the defences any other way. The county council feels it is unreasonable to place this additional burden on communities that are already deprived.”

The council argues that the land protected helps to contribute about 30 per cent of the country’s vegetable crop.

A Defra spokesman said: “We’ve reformed the funding system to allow more flood defences to be built and give greater choice and control to local people over how to protect their community.

“We expect to spend at least £2.1 billion on flooding and coastal erosion over the next four years.

“Flood defence funding is allocated according to the best value for money and this often means prioritising the protection of households and keeping residents safe.”