A COUNCIL has been praised for its response to severe flooding.

After floods hit parts of County Durham in 2012, Durham County Council secured £11.5m of funding to improve the county’s flood defences and protect homes and businesses.

The council’s environment scrutiny committee has now reviewed how the authority manages flood risk and responds to incidents of flooding.

It found the council had introduced some very effective flood prevention schemes and it is working well with other agencies to combat the problems.

The committee is urging the authority to continue to seek extra funding and ensure its planning policies take into account the impact of any new development on the sewerage and drainage network.

Councillor Barbara Graham, the committee chair, said: “It is estimated that 600 homes in County Durham have been flooded since April 2012, with the average cost of flood damage to a household standing at £30,000.

“A number of businesses have also been adversely affected and the total repair bill has been conservatively estimated to have topped £20m.

“In addition flooding disrupts our daily lives, with transport links and power supply affected.

“We wanted to ensure that the policies and plans that Durham County Council and partners have in place to deal with flooding are fit for purpose and that the review is used to develop our future programme of work in this key area.”

The committee’s report will go before the council’s cabinet in Murton on Wednesday (September 10) and the cabinet will be asked to agree to respond within six months.