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Farron Calls For Army To Help Rebuild A591

December 10, 2015 11:25 AM

Tim Farron MP has this morning called for more money to repair Cumbria's damaged infrastructure, and insisted that exceptional measures must be taken to reopen the A591.

Tim welcomed the news, announced by George Osborne on Wednesday, that £50m was being made available to families and businesses, which would be administered through local councils to try to reduce bureaucratic delays. However, whilst Tim described this as a "welcome gesture", he has insisted that far more funds will be necessary to rebuild the basic infrastructure which was destroyed by Storm Desmond. Although George Osborne has promised that the government will make funds available for this purpose, no concrete plans have yet been announced.

Tim appealed to the government in the House of Commons today to rebuild the A591, the closure of which "cuts the Lake District in two", severing the crucial link between the north and south. Many Ambleside and Grasmere residents rely on this route, whilst it is also important for the tourism industry.

Tim has criticised current plans to reopen this route by Easter as "an affront to the local people that rely on this route" and a "barrier to tourism", and has called for the army to assist in the rebuilding process to ensure that this route reopens as soon as possible.

In his statement in the Commons, Tim also called again on the government to apply for a grant from the EU Solidarity Fund. This could provide millions of pounds towards dealing with the aftermath of Storm Desmond, but it is unclear if the government will apply for the money.

Tim said: "Now that the immediate crisis is over, we must look at rebuilding the essential local infrastructure which was damaged by the flooding.

"While I welcome the government's decision to provide £50m of emergency relief funds, the reality is that we will need much more in order to rebuild what was destroyed. This is why I have again called on the government to apply for EU Solidarity Funding.

"Current plans to reopen the A591 by Easter are simply not good enough. This route is vital for local people, as well as for tourists visiting the area. If necessary, the government should call upon the army to help get this crucial road back open as soon as possible."