A new fund to help small ports like Porthleven meet the costs of repairing damage caused by the severe storms has been set up by the government.

The Small Ports Recovery Scheme, which is part of the Government’s wider initiative to support victims of the storm damage, is designed to help small fishing and leisure ports to meet the costs of repairing their existing infrastructure and superstructure.

Small cargo handling ports with an annual throughput of less than 500,000 tonnes of freight or those that handle less than 100,000 passengers are also eligible to apply for the scheme.

“There are a number of ports and harbours throughout Cornwall, a number of which have suffered damage during the winter storms” said Edwina Hannaford, the Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for environment, heritage and planning.

“The majority of these are small ports focusing on fishing and leisure activities but, despite their size, they are still significant economic drivers within the local community and many will have suffered significant storm damage within the past few months.

“I welcome this new fund and would encourage all eligible ports and harbours in Cornwall to apply”.

Under the new scheme, which is being run by the Department of Transport, small ports will be able to apply for funding to repair damage caused by any storms between the St Jude’s storm of 27 October 2013 and 31 March 2014.

The scheme is designed to provide funding to bridge the gap between a port’s own resources or insurance cover and the cost of essential repairs. .Claims for 100% of the cost of a proposal will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances where there are significant extenuating factors.

All applications will be assessed by an independent panel of experts nominated by the British Ports Association which will make recommendations for funding approval and the amount of funding to be offered to the Department.

All claims will be considered on their merits, with priority given to repairs which contribute most to the continued safe running of the port or the economic viability of the port. The final decision on whether the post is eligible for funding and , if so, the amount of funding to be allocated, will be made by the Department of Transport.

All applications must be submitted to the British Ports Association (BPA) by 8 June to info@britishports.org.uk Details of the scheme are available from the British Ports Association website http://www.britishports.org.uk/small-ports-recovery-scheme