NAO This report evaluates whether government’s approach to managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion is achieving value for money.

Background to the report

Flooding and coastal erosion put lives, livelihoods and people’s well-being at risk. The Environment Agency (EA) estimates that 5.2 million homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding and that around 700 properties are vulnerable to coastal erosion over the next 20 years. In addition, more than two thirds of properties in England are served by infrastructure sites and networks located in (or dependent on others in) areas at risk of flooding. The Met Office’s UK climate projections show more extreme weather events and sea level rises resulting from climate change. This, when combined with increased housing development, will heighten flooding and coastal erosion risks……

Report conclusions

Between 2015 and 2021, government will have invested £2.6 billion in flood defences. EA is on track to meet government’s aim to better protect 300,000 homes, has secured more than £500 million of partnership funding to supplement the programme and expects to achieve an estimated benefit–cost ratio across the programme of 8:1 over this period. However, Defra’s narrow focus on the homes better protected target has not necessarily produced the best return on investment and does not represent the full picture. As we approach the end of the current investment period, government does not have a comprehensive measure to demonstrate whether the overall level of flood risk in England is lower now than it was at the start of the programme.

Over the next six-year period starting in April 2021, government’s capital investment is set to increase substantially to £5.6 billion, with the aim of providing better protection for 336,000 properties and the expectation that the programme will reduce overall flood risk by up to 11%. While the new policy statement and EA strategy are an important step forward, with the new investment period about to begin, Defra has yet to provide full details of what it aims to achieve from the programme, how the programme will be managed and what indicators it will use to measure progress. Unless it develops these, alongside a more robust measure of its progress in reducing flood risk, Defra will not be able to demonstrate convincingly to Parliament that future investment is achieving value for money.’ Click here to access the report

Independent review of flood insurance published – Defra

Defra: Review led by former chair of ABI Amanda Blanc recommends greater protection for at-risk communities. An independent review has published its recommendations to improve people’s awareness of their insurance options in areas at risk of flooding, as well as helping to ensure tenants, landlords and property owners have better access to flood insurance.

The review, led by the former chair of the Association of British Insurers, Amanda Blanc, was commissioned by the government following flooding in South Yorkshire in November 2019. It set out to examine the level of insurance held by those affected and the barriers they faced in obtaining cover.

The report found that 97% of owner-occupiers had at least one of buildings or contents insurance, with 95% having both. This compares with 94% for households at risk of flooding in Defra’s 2018 report. However, around 6% (25 homes) did not have flood cover included in their policy.

The review recommends that insurers and intermediaries do more to help people get the right insurance, and that landlords in high flood risk areas provide renters with details of the building’s insurance cover at the start of their tenancy, including the support that would be provided by the insurer to the tenant in the event of a flood.

Click here to read the report.

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