Lynn flood risk warning

CHRIS BISHOP Householders with homes on floodplains should be denied insurance to deter developers from building in at-risk areas, says the head of the Environment Agency.

CHRIS BISHOP

Householders with homes on floodplains should be denied insurance to deter developers from building in at-risk areas, says the head of the Environment Agency.

It comes as TV documentary makers reveal more than 8,000 homes in West Norfolk are under serious threat from flooding.

In an interview with Channel 4's Dispatches Baroness Young, the EA's chief executive, says companies should refuse to insure properties built on floodplains against Agency advice.


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“Many of the properties that flooded in the summer were built in the '60s, the '70s and the '80s and we've got a huge backlog of that in the floodplain now and we don't want to increase that by building any more,” she said.

“We'd like the ABI (Association of British Insurers) to be tougher - we'd like the insurance companies to be tougher and to simply refuse to insure properties built on the floodplain against our advice. But we've not persuaded the insurance industry en masse to do that.”

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Last night Norwich Union said: “We would rather houses weren't built on floodplains but we know there's a housing shortage.

“What we look at is individual risk. If houses are built with adequate flood defences there's no reason why they shouldn't get insurance.”

The ABI said: “We certainly are tough on properties built on flood plains. We would much rather see the planning laws strengthened and the EA given additional powers, but local authorities can act against their advice.”

New research has identified the top 20 places in Britain most at risk from flooding. Analysis of official data revealed Boston, Lincs was the worst, with 57 pc of homes at "significant risk".

West Norfolk, where 12 pc of homes are at risk, is the fourth-worst in Britain. Dispatches: Britain Under Water claims an increasing number of new homes are being built on floodplains.

This has led to a surge in the number of homes at "significant risk' of flooding - described as having a one in 75 chance of flooding in any given year.

Last year 13 major housing developments were given planning permission against EA advice. Torrential rain and floods caused an estimated £3bn damage and claimed 14 lives across the North and Midlands this summer.

The programme reports that in addition to the potential threat to homes, more than 2,000 energy installations are at significant risk of flooding. It raises concern over whether councils are setting aside enough resources to battle the threat.

Dispatches: Britain Under Water is being screened on Channel 4 at 8pm tonight .

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