Time to make good on flood promises

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that 11per cent of all new homes built in England between 1997 and 2000 were in areas that are defined by the Environment Agency as being at risk of flooding.

The CML believes that unless there is positive action by the government, then areas that are flooded on a regular basis may become no-go areas as people cannot get insurance, and their properties become unmortgageable.

The CML is calling for spending of between £120 and £140 million on flood defences to maintain present standards, which was recommended by the National Appraisal of Assets at Risk, in a study for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

While insurers will still offer cover to existing policyholders in flood risk areas until the end of this year, in some cases premiums and excesses are rising. This means that someone selling a property in an area at risk of flooding may find that potential new owners have problems in getting insurance, or even find that they cannot get insurance at all/

Peter Williams, deputy director general of the CML, said: "The ability to obtain insurance at a reasonable cost is a key requirement for both lenders and borrowers. Without the protection of insurance, the lender’s security in the property is threatened, making it virtually impossible to obtain a mortgage. Even if borrowers could get a loan for the property, they would be extremely vulnerable if they had to meet the costs of any significant flood damage from their own pockets.

"Individuals cannot generally be responsible for protecting their properties from the dangers of flooding, and the need to invest in flood defences to safeguard national assets has already been acknowledged in the government’s election manifesto. The pressure to find land to meet housing demand means that more homes are likely to be built where there is a risk of flooding, so investment in proper defences is essential."