A REFUND on council tax is being offered to residents affected by the devastating flooding as a multi-agency clean-up effort gets underway in Marlow and the surrounding areas.

Wycombe District Council is offering those significantly impacted by floods between December 1 and March 31 up to 100 per cent of their council tax for a period of three months.

Two further schemes are available for businesses affected by the deluge, with a 100 per cent business rate refund available for those whose premises were flooded.

And a business support scheme offers small and medium size companies access to a £35,000 government grant for insurance excesses and support for loss of trade, both up to £750.

This comes after a task force was set up by Bucks County Council looking at different areas of the recovery process for the county.

Councillor Richard Scott, Leader of Wycombe District Council, said: "While the community spirit in the areas affected by the recent flooding has been phenomenal, we know that for those who have felt the impact of the floods it has been a very stressful time.

"These three schemes have been designed to offer some financial relief to those who've borne the brunt of the adverse conditions.

"We want to be able to provide support for those in need of a helping hand while recovering from the floods, so I hope that residents and businesses who are eligible for this financial assistance ensure that they apply."

A multi-agency meeting was held in Marlow yesterday to co-ordinate the flood recovery effort after waters receded over the past 10 days.

The task force includes representatives from Transport for Buckinghamshire, Wycombe District Council, Marlow Town Council, Thames Valley Police and the Environment Agency.

TfB is focusing its efforts on repairing ‘category one’ potholes created and worsened by the flooding.

Drainage teams are out in flooded areas battling to clear drains damaged by the deluge, and TfB’s ‘super sucker’ pump is continuing to help with groundwater flooding in Pound Lane, Marlow.

Bucks Fire and Rescue scaled down its operation last weekend and residents who are physically able are being asked to return their sandbags to wherever they collected them, and are urged to hold on to unused and uncontaminated bags if they have available storage.

Marlow town clerk Annie Jones, who is chairing the Marlow recovery group, is asking those who are unable to return the bags to get in touch with the town council to arrange a pick up.

She said: "As far as this group is concerned, we’re all just focussing now on getting Marlow back to normal. There is a huge focus on this at the moment.

"Just because floods are disappearing, the work is not done and in many ways there’s even more going on now."

Environmental Health officers warn that sewers are still backing up, with reports of sewage coming up through manhole covers and flooding gardens along Quarrydale Drive in Marlow continuing.

Divisional officer Andrew Collinson said groundwater flooding may take as much as two months to subside due to saturated ground.

Thames Water has sent tankers to affected areas to try and remove some of the spilled sewage.

For full details and eligibility criteria for WDC’s flood relief support schemes are available at www.wycombe.gov.uk and by clicking on the 'Flood Relief' link.