June 28, 2019 2.48 pm This story is over 29 months old

RAF chopper flood callouts to cost almost £1m

Emergency services will put special grant bids into Government too

The deployment of RAF helicopters to plug the Wainfleet flood defences this month is expected to cost the government between £750,000 and £1 million.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones and Chief Constable Bill Skelly confirmed the sum during a discussion on the flood’s impacts on services budgets.

The Chinook and Puma were called into action when more than double June’s average rainfall came down in just three days and the River Steeping broke its banks.

Mr Jones told members of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel that the final bill would not be known until around Autumn.

“I expect the RAF will put in a bill, but it won’t be borne by our budget,” he said.

Photo: Royal Air Force

Mr Skelly added: “We got reassurance early on that the cost would not be borne by the partnership, it would be borne by Central Government.”

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Jones said: “It’s going to be in the order of £750,000 to £1 million, so significant cost and I’m really pleased that’s happened.”

The PCC also confirmed that once the final cost was known, he would also be putting in bids for special grants to Government to cover more costs if possible.

The RAF helped to reinforce the bank. Photo: Environment Agency

“It will be hundreds and thousands rather than millions but it will be money that when we get back can be put into policing,” he said.

Heavy rainfall led to the River Steeping bursting its banks on June 12 and 580 homes were evacuated, with some people not expecting to be able to return for months.

Around half of those evacuated were allowed to return to their properties last Friday and emergency planners have since begun a recovery process.

The RAF, with support from a Joint RAF and Army unit, flew in almost 70 one-tonne bags of gravel suspended under a Chinook.

The operation was designed to reinforce the flood defences and drastically reduce the chances of further flooding.

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