By Daniel Hunter
Cross-party political support is needed to ensure that the UK gets on top of the flood risk the ABI said today at a flood summit organised by the Labour Party.
Last year was the wettest on record in England, and only just short of being the wettest ever across the UK. Four of the five wettest years on record have been since 2000.
Speaking at the Labour Party flood summit, Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance, will say: “Flooding is the greatest natural threat facing the UK and the risk is rising, so political consensus on how we effectively adapt to it is essential. Insurers know the traumatic and devastating impact of flooding, through helping their customers recover after a flood.
"Political commitment in the key areas of investment in flood defences, sensible planning decisions and working in partnership with the insurance industry will ensure that flood risk communities get the protection and reassurance they need.”
Nick Starling outlined the key areas where cross party agreement is needed:
- A rigorous planning system that prevents developments in high flood risk areas. The House of Commons Committee on Climate Change reported that over the last ten years floodplain building has risen by 12%, compared to 7% in the rest of England.
- Sustained, long-term flood defence spending that keeps pace with the threat, targeted to those areas of greatest need. Before the last spending review, the Environment Agency estimated that an additional £20 million a year was needed every year between 2011 and 2035 just to keep the flood risk at current levels.
- Recognition that flood insurance can only continue to remain widely affordable and available with some form of government support, as happens in other countries. The ABI and the Government are continuing in talks on a scheme that could ensure this.
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