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BPF back ABI's demand for flood defence funds

Responding Sir Michael Pitt's 'Lessons Learned' review of the summer floods, the British Property Federation (BPF) has backed the Association of British Insurers (ABI) call for the government to provide more funding for flood-threatened properties.

In the written response, the chairman of the BPF's Insurance Committee, William Gloyn, stated that the government must provide sufficient flood defences so that affordable flood insurance remains available to its members.

Gloyn said: "We hope that careful consideration is given by the Government to the ABI's call for greater investment than the £800M already committed to protect against future floods – which is, in itself, not going to be fully available until 2010, if other priorities do not reduce that amount in the meantime."

He went on to say: "We would, however, call for any allocation of investment to be transparent and based on obtaining maximum value."

The ABI is currently awaiting the final Pitt report and conclusions from Defra's 'improving surface water consultation' before it completes the annual review of its statement of principles.

A spokesman for the ABI spokesman told NCE: "The £800M figure was announced before last year's floods, so the full extent of the necessary cost is still unknown. The statement of principles ensures our members continue to be able to insure their properties against flood risk, and that is reliant on there being adequate flood management measures in place."

"The insurance community is under increasing pressure and it will continue to be while the government fails to act on the recommendations of the Pitt report," he added.

The ABI made a submission to the Defra consultation earlier this week supporting the implementation of surface water management plans and criticising the governments "lack of coordination of the whole regime."

The BPF are also opposed to Government plans to remove the automatic right to for new developments to connect to the sewerage system.

They said the floods, "were not the direct result of new developments connecting unopposed to the existing sewerage network as is implied in the interim report."

Gloyn advocated limiting the development rights for high-risk properties, where building impermeable surfaces could increase the the risk of surface water run off.

He claimed the City was concerned about increasing premiums, saying: "The City Property Association is particularly concerned about the impact that a failure to improve flood defences will have on the perceived risk to occupiers of City properties, many of whom represent the powerhouse of the UK economy."

The ABI’s annual statement of principles review shouild be completed by June 2008.

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