Defra: ‘Households in areas at risk of flooding that install flood defence measures could soon be able to acquire discounted insurance premiums, under plans outlined by the UK government today.

The proposals, which have been launched for consultation, would see insured households that experience flooding not only claim money to cover any damage, but also receive additional funds to make their homes more resilient to future impacts.

It follows yet another bout of severe flood warnings in north-west England and Wales as a result of Storm Christoph last month, which saw a number of homes evacuated around the rivers Mersey and Dee. Experts have warned storms and flooding events are set to become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, prompting growing concerns about home and business insurance against such events.

The consultation launched today covers changes to the Flood Re scheme, a joint initiative from the government and private sector intended to reduce insurance costs by passing on the flood risk element of home insurance to Flood Re and charging a set premium to households based on their council tax bands. Since being launched in 2016, Flood Re has supported more than 300,000 households, with four in five households with prior flood claims seeing reductions in their insurance premiums of more than half, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

“My thoughts are with all of those affected by Storms Bella and Christoph,” said environment secretary George Eustice. “In Northwich last week I saw for myself the impact that flooding has on homes, businesses and communities. I am determined to get more support to people hit time and again by floods. These plans aim to give households in flood-hit areas additional support to protect their properties.”

The government is also seeking evidence on how the UK’s flood and coastal defence investment programme can be better tailored to local circumstances, in order to step up support for frequently flooded communities.

The new steps follow a £5.2bn funding commitment to boost flood and coast defences made by the government in July last year. The investment will see the creation of around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences, capable of protecting 336,000 properties in England by 2027, according to Defra.

“During Storm Christoph 49,000 properties were protected by our defences. I recognise that this is of little comfort to those who have been flooded and that there is more to do,” said Floods Minister Rebecca Pow. “The plans will give people in flood-hit areas more help to build back better and reduce the risk to homeowners in the future.”

The latest insurance measures have been driven by a series of major floods that inundated homes across north and central England, south Wales and the Scottish Borders last winter. In the aftermath of the flooding, both the Climate Change Committee and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee of MPs accused the government of failing to deliver a sufficiently robust climate resilience strategy in the face of escalating long term flood risks as temperatures drive up global sea levels.  Click here to access the consultation

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