§ Sir Peter Emery
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide assistance to North Devon 539W district council under the Bellwin scheme for the costs incurred in dealing with exceptional storms in October 1996. 
§ Mr. Curry
I am satisfied that financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme is justified given the exceptional nature of the storms on 28 October 1996. A scheme will, therefore, be established under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Grant will be paid to cover 85 per cent. of eligible costs which are above a threshold, and which have been incurred by North Devon district council in dealing with the immediate aftermath of those storms.