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Insurers call for 25-year flood plans

Insureres want the government to adopt 25-year flood plans and give the Environment Agency powers to coordinate those plans, or they may not be able to continue to provide cover.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), "Insurance companies want to continue to provide sustainable and affordable protection against the consequences of flooding. We work closely with the Government and others to ensure that this can be the case."

The ABI's report into the summer floods will feed into Sir Michael Pitt's review. According to Stephen Haddrill, director general of the ABI says members paid out £3bn over 165,000 claims as a result of the summer floods.

"This summer's devastating floods highlight the urgent need for a long-term strategy based around more investment, national coordination and better land use planning.

"Insurers want to continue to provide flood insurance. The right decisions from the Government will ensure that flood insurance remains widely available and affordable in the UK," he said.

He added that while £200M pledged for flood defences were, "a good start," the money was, "limited."

The ABI want 25-year flood plans, with:

- Investment to reflect climate change and flood risks from rivers, coasts and drainage. "The Climate Change Bill should include targets not just for mitigating our impact on the climate, but also for adapting the UK to the changing climate: it should set a series of targets to reduce flood risk across the UK," reads the report.

- The Climate Change Act to give the Environment Agency powers to coordinate flood plans. "The Government should produce a 25-year national strategic plan outlining the policy reforms and investment needed in the fight against flooding," and, "The Government needs to ensure that the emergency services, Local Authorities and the Environment Agency are able to respond to such events even more effectively and that there is one body accountable for overseeing and coordinating the response effort."

- Tougher planning controls to ensure that new developments are not built in high flood-risk areas wherever possible. "Any new development or substantial repair work that does take place in high-risk areas, the Building Regulations should require higher standards to reduce the risk of flooding and minimise the impact if flooding does occur," reads the report.

The ABI also polled more than 1,00 people affected by the floods, and found that 61% believed they would be similarly flooded again.

On a scale of 1-5 (5 as the most important), those polled wanted:

4.27 - Overhaul of drainage systems

4.18 - Increased Government spending on flood defences

4.16 - No new building on floodplains

4.11 - Building houses in ways that minimize the impact and cost of flooding

3.89 - More information about the flood risk

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