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. . . as insurers join call for planning reform

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THE ASSOCIATION of British Insurers (ABI) has joined the Environment Agency's call for planning policy reform to cut the risk of flood damage in the UK.

The value of claims relating to weather damage has doubled to £6bn over the past six years, ABI policy advisor Dr Sebastian Catovsky told last week's NCE flooding conference.

He said the Environment Agency is only consulted for flood risk advice on 60% of planning applications.

Catovsky added that where the Agency objects one in five cases are still approved.

He called for the Agency to be a statutory consultee.

Agency head of flood risk management David Rooke agreed, adding that developers should also be obliged to submit flood risk assessments with applications, or see them automatically rejected.

'We think that's an excellent example of best practice and we want to see it made statutory, ' he said.

Developers should be expected to foot the bill for these studies, he suggested.

Consultant Arup's senior hydrologist Dr James Lancaster indicated that initial flood risk assessments should identify potential flood hazards.

They should address the question: 'Is it reasonable to proceed with development proposals in this area?', he added.

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