Wainfleet flooding: RAF ballast drop to cost up to £1m

RAF Chinook dropping ballast Image copyright EPA
Image caption RAF crews dropped tonnes of ballast and sand in the breach in an attempt to prevent further flooding

The government will face a bill of up to £1m after deploying RAF helicopters to plug flood defences when a river burst its banks in Lincolnshire.

Heavy rainfall caused the River Steeping to burst its banks at Wainfleet on 12 June.

About 580 homes were evacuated, with some people not expected to be able to return for months.

RAF crews dropped tonnes of ballast and sand in the breach in an attempt to prevent further flooding.

The costs were revealed at a meeting of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel during a discussion about the effect of the flooding on local service budgets.

Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said the final bill was likely to be between £750,000 and £1m.

"I expect the RAF will put in a bill, but it won't be borne by our budget," Mr Jones told the panel.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The cost of the operation is expected to be up to £1m

Lincolnshire Police's Chief Constable Bill Skelly said the force had received assurances the full cost of the RAF operation would be met by central government.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Jones said he would also seek further funding to help cover other flood-related costs.

The RAF, with support from a Joint RAF and Army unit, flew in about 100 one-tonne bags of gravel suspended under Chinook helicopters

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

Work on a more permanent fix to the river bank, which involves steel rods being driven into the river bank and backfilled with gravel, is under way,

Image copyright PA
Image caption The River Steeping burst its banks after the equivalent of about two months' rain fell in two days

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