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Insurers urge Prescott to clarify flood plain plans

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INSURERS HAVE this week urged central government to help cut a potential £830M annual fl ding bill arising from deputy prime minister John Prescott's Sustainable Communities plan.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called on the government to clarify its planning strategy and then press local authorities to fall in line.

'We want the government to do as much as it can through planning. This doesn't always happen in practice. Local authorities don't always follow Environment Agency advice, ' says ABI policy advisor Sebastian Catovsky.

In a report published this week the ABI states that development in Kent, the Thames Gateway, the south Midlands, and along the M11 corridor will result in an extra £82M per year in fl ood damage to homes and infrastructure.

This gure could reach £830M per year by 2080 if climate change effects are factored in. The report sets out three options for reducing fl ood risk: avoidance; adaptation of building design; and improvement of flood defences.

Moving properties off the fl ood plain or to the lowest risk areas of proposed development would save £12M per year and is the cheapest option, says the report.

More expensive would be adapting the design of new buildings. Measures such as raising ground fl or levels or using ground fl or levels for parking would increase build costs by up to 33%. But this could reduce damage by up to £41M per year.

The most effective but expensive option would be to improve fl ood defences. This could save £47.5M annually but cost £330M.

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