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Improved Drainage A Priority in Flood Fight

Jun 24, 2008
Consumers view improving drainage systems throughout the UK as the first priority in an effort to reduce the risk of flooding around the country, according to new research.

The results of a consumer survey published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has suggested that the majority of consumers feel that the risk of flooding is increasing. Using a sample of 1,000 people from areas of the country which were badly hit by last year's severe weather, the association found that 88 per cent of people viewed the threat of flooding as more pronounced than it used to be. Furthermore, 64 per cent of the 1,000 respondents living in less severely affected regions said they felt the same. Around three-quarters (74 per cent) of both groups said they did not feel that the government was doing enough to combat the risk and limit the effect of future flooding.

When asked whether they supported the ABI's proposal for increased governmental action on the issue, 91 per cent of those badly hit and 92 per cent of those relatively unaffected by the 2007 floods said they were in favour of the call.

Of the first group, 98 per cent said that improved drainage was the most important priority, while 96 per cent of the second set concurred. There was also concern about the location of new homes, with 97 per cent of those living in affected areas saying that there should be regulations about building properties on at-risk sites.

For those who suffered from last year's flooding or who have had some other major structural damage befall their property in the 12 months since then, taking a secured loan may provide the funds necessary for repair and renovation. Such a loan may be particularly useful for those who found themselves without home insurance protection following an unforeseen event.

Indeed, the ABI insisted that unless government action is taking to ensure that new homes are protected against the risk of flooding, it is likely that many such properties will become uninsurable as cover providers find themselves to cover the costs arising from claims.

Speaking at the ABI's Floods - One Year On conference, Nick Starling, the association's director of general insurance and health, said: "Insurers will have paid out 3 billion pounds following the floods last summer. But, like us, our customers share our concerns for the future. These findings reinforce our call for a long-term flood management strategy. In particular we must tackle the problem of surface water drainage. Planning for the future is essential if we are to minimise a repeat of last year's terrible floods and to ensure that flood insurance protection remains widely available."

Among the recommended solutions is the creation of a new kitemark system to demonstrate that new properties have been built in accordance with flood protection criteria.

Earlier this year, Halifax also warned consumers of the danger of high winds and the costs that could be incurred if adequate home insurance cover is not taken out. It recorded that more than 1.5 million homes experienced roof damage as winds of up to 77 miles per hour battered parts of the country.
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