COUNCILS counting the cost of the recent floods are hoping to benefit from a new government fund for the worst affected areas.

Whitehall is expected to announce an extra £7million in aid to help councils repair homes and roads damaged during the storms.

The money is on top of the existing Bellwin Scheme, which enables councils to claim back some of the money spent on repairs.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, has warned the storms and flooding have left a £400m repair bill.

This provisional figure comes from a survey of highway managers and is expected to increase.

Tony Williams, chief executive of Bournemouth council, said they were still calculating the cost of the damage caused in Iford and elsewhere.

“We are very pleased that there is a possibility of applying for funding to help with some of the support we offered over the last few weeks, which we are currently looking into as we calculate the full cost of the damage from the flooding.”

Mike Jones, the LGA's environment and housing board chairman, said the severe weather had left behind a “daunting trail of destruction” for councils to clear up.

“These bills are likely to place significant financial pressures on already stretched council finances and it is vital that local communities are not left to suffer as a result,” he said.

Simon Legg, streetscene operations manager at the Borough of Poole, confirmed they would not be applying for funding as they had not incurred sufficient expenditure.

“Staff have dealt with in excess of 180 reports of damaged trees and 16 reports of flooded areas in Poole. We worked tirelessly 24/7 to minimise disruption to our residents and fortunately Poole was not affected as severely as other areas in the country,” he said.