SOUTH West MEP Julie Girling is to contact Environment Secretary Owen Paterson in a bid to unlock emergency aid from the EU for Dorset flood victims The EU’s Solidarity Fund, which was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major disasters, has a budget of up to £414 million for 2014.

People living in Charminster, Chiswell, Portland and at the Iford Bridge Home Park between Christchurch and Bournemouth experienced flooding in their homes in a series of winter storms.

Mrs Girling said: “I will be contacting the Environment Secretary to get the details of how much money is needed and how best to spend it.”

She added that the South West had been ‘battered’ by the storms and local people need the support of Europe to repair the damage and prevent future flooding.

The fund has been used to help areas devastated by floods in the past, including along the Danube river in 2010.

Mrs Girling added: “We need a long term plan in place to prevent this tragedy happening year on year. “It destroys homes and businesses and it is the same areas that are being hit again and again.”