‘Insurance ban for flood-risk homes’

2 12 2007

The risk of flooding to homes and businesses in the UK is increasing and climate change is likely to lead to an increase in river, sea and drainage flooding. In a bid to limit the flood damage to housing, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, Baroness Young, has suggested that homes built on flood plains against official advice should be refused insurance. Last year 13 ‘major developments’, including housing estates and a holiday park, were given planning permission despite being categorised as a flood risk area. This proposal would also affect government plans for 3 million new homes, up to one third of which, experts say, could be built on flood plains. In a televised interview, expert Barbara Young called on insurers to help protect properties against flooding – ‘We’d like the insurance companies to be tougher and to simply refuse to insure properties built on the flood plain against our advice.’

Dispatches revealed a leaked document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which officials admitted in June 2006 that flood defences were ‘severely rationed’ or turned down. The programme also found that since 2004 there have been six other major safety incidents at dams in Britain and 40 other dams have been threatened with prosecution over safety issues. The programme claims that 2,500 families affected by this summer’s floods are still living in temporary accommodation because of delays in getting insurance and repair works completed. The Association of British Insurers told Dispatches: ‘When dealing with such a huge number of claims some problems may arise. Insurers try to resolve these as quickly as possible. The industry has pledged to continue to offer flood insurance to all existing customers, providing there are adequate flood defences in place. For new customers individual insurers will decide if they are able to offer flood cover.’

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/dec/02/climatechange.householdbills?gusrc=rss (2/12/07)

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