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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES FROM SATURDAY'S NATIONAL PRESS

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COUNCILS MAY HAVE TO TRIPLE FLOOD BUDGETS ...
COUNCILS MAY HAVE TO TRIPLE FLOOD BUDGETS

The environment agency has warned that tens of millions of pounds may need to be spent to defend large areas of internationally renowned wetlands from floods caused by global warming.

The Guardian(September 16, p5) reported that councils may have to triple their flood defence budgets to prevent the

low-lying Somerset levels and other parts of Somerset becoming swamped.

Richard Bradford, Somerset CC's project officer for the county's moors and levels, said the environment agency report was an attempt to raise awareness of the financial problems councils face.

'We have a problem which a single authority is not able to tackle alone,' he said. 'The question is whether the responsibility should fall on local council taxpayers or whether the country's taxpayers should help because of the international importance of our sites.'

See LGCnet'CHANGING CLIMATE IS FAST MAKING BRITAIN A FLOOD 'HOT- SPOT' - WARNING.'

TYCOON SHARES COST OF CITY ACADEMIES

Frank Lowe, chairman of the Lowe Group, will join the board of governors of the city academy being set up on the site of Willesden high school, north-west London, which was failed by Ofsted inspectors two years ago.

He has, reported the Guardian(September 16, p5) funded a fifth of the£10m renovation of the school, with the rest of the money coming from the government.

The school is one of a number of city academies to be opened around the country. The schools will have charitable status and be outside the powers of local authorities.

SCHOOLS TO STAY CLOSED AFTER FUEL CRISIS

The Independent(September 16, p2) reported that hundreds of schools may still be closed today (September 18) because of the petrol crisis of last week.

Wakefield DC said that more than 100 schools in the area would be closed on Monday with most also expected to be shut on Tuesday.

John McLeod, chief education officer for the council, said: 'Many of our teachers live a considerable distance from the schools where they work. We are putting the health, safety and welfare of our children first.'

Warwickshire CC said 21 of its schools were closed and that this figure could grow to 50 by Monday. Essex CC expects 11 schools to be shut on Monday and Gloucestershire CC said that 10 of its schools were likely to stay closed at the start of this week.

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