LANCASHIRE County Council is launching a last-minute pre-Brexit bid for European Union cash to improve flood defences on the River Ribble.

The authority's Cabinet has given the go-ahead for the authority to apply for £5.77m from a scheme designed to mitigate the effects of increased rainfall as a result of climate change.

It would initially go towards the £40million cost of upgrading existing defences in several areas of Preston and South Ribble which are need of 'substantial' work.

The full scheme would protect or enhance the protection of 2,700 homes and 600 businesses.

The bid follows the Boxing Day floods in 2015 which hit may areas near the River Ribble (including Ribchester) and its tributaries including the River Calder in Whalley.

Cllr Albert Atkinson, county deputy leader who represents Ribble Valley North East, said the authority was 'still entitled' to apply for European money and that there was “a good chance” of the bid being successful.