Council leaders are warning that millions of people could be left unable to get insurance cover against flooding of their homes unless there is continued investment in flood risk management.
The Local Government Association fears the insurance industry may refuse to offer affordable cover if it does not believe sufficient resources are being invested in flood defences.There is currently an agreement between the Government and the industry allowing homes and businesses in flood risk areas to buy cover so long as the Government is doing its part to mitigate the risks. That agreement ends in 2013.
One in six properties in England and Wales is currently seen as being at risk of flooding. The LGA says figures from the Environment Agency show spending on flood risk management will need to double to a billion pounds a year by 2035 just to maintain the current number of properties protected from flooding. Councils will also face added costs from April next year when they take on new responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act.
Gary Porter, who chairs the LGA Environment Board, said: “The Government has made it clear there are going to be deep cuts in public spending. But there is a real danger that if sufficient resources are not put into managing the risk of flooding millions of households could find themselves in the awful position of being unable to insure their property against the risk of floods.”
The LGA has called for a radical change in the way the public sector operates and says flood risk management is just one of the vital services that would benefit from such an overhaul.