ABI Urges U.K. Government to Fully Implement Flood Policy Reforms

October 25, 2005

According to a report published the Association of British Insurers (ABI), five years after the disastrous floods of 2000, the government has yet to fully act on its commitments to reduce flood related risks. “The ABI’s Statement of Principles on flood insurance, which ensures that flood insurance remains widely available, depends on the flood risk being adequately managed,” said the bulletin.

Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s Director General, commented: “Much has changed for the better in the last five years, but more work is needed in the next five years as well. The Government has now got the right policies, but they are not being fully delivered.”

The ABI report, Revisiting the partnership: five years on from Autumn 2000, notes that the “2000 floods prompted a Government overhaul of flood management in the UK. The ABI has assessed if there have been real improvements ‘on the ground’.
It calls for an “increased level of investment in flood defenses” to be sustained over the longer term.

The ABI also notes that, although there is now better planning guidance, and more accountable funding arrangements, it remains concerned about the following:
— It remains unclear how the increased investment is reducing risk locally, and which communities are benefiting from improved protection. For example, Barlby in North Yorkshire has still not got a completed flood defense scheme despite being at high flood risk, while parts of neighboring Malton have inadequate defenses.
— One-in-four planning applications where the Environment Agency objects still go ahead. The Agency should become a statutory consultee for all applications in flood risk areas.
— An integrated plan is needed to tackle urban flooding. Britain’s largely Victorian drainage system is struggling to cope with the increase in urban flash flooding and needs urgent renewal.

“The partnership between the insurance industry and Government has ensured that flood insurance remains widely available for almost everyone,” Haddrill continued. “The industry’s Statement of Principles provides reassurance for millions of policyholders. For this to continue, the Government needs to get down to implementing further improvements to reduce the risk of flooding.”

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