Making waves at Whitehall reception

Posted: Thursday 22nd January 2015

ĎMary Queen of Floodsí makes waves at Whitehall - reception held at the House of Commons calls for an end to housing development on flood plains and increased flood risk funding.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) yesterday launched its Flood Free Homes campaign. The campaign raises the issue of long term investment in flood defence and land and water management. ABI is calling for £1 billion per year to be spent on managing flood risk by 2025; cross party consensus on long term solutions; and an end to new developments in areas at risk of flooding. The campaign launched at the House of Commons yesterday, is supported by Know Your Flood Risk, Friends of the Earth, National Flood Forum, the Property Care Associationís Flood Protection Group.

Mary Dhonau, OBE, chief executive of Know Your Flood Risk, was asked to speak at the House of Commons reception, attended by forty MPs. Mary met with Roger Williams, MP, to discuss the current risk to homeowners, based on the latest flood risk modelling data, and joined ABIís call for an end to housing development on flood plains and an increase in government funding for flood risk management.

Know Your Flood Risk works to raise awareness of flood risk, by lobbying the government and the insurance industry and providing homeowners and businesses with practical guidance on their risk of flooding and how to mitigate the risk of their properties being flooded. As part of its mission to inform home owners of the risk to their property, Know Your Flood Risk works with major data providers, including Landmark Information Group, to maintain up to date flood risk modelling data and ensure that property owners have access to information on the different types and levels of flood risk.

Environment Agency data shows that approximately 2 million homes in England and Wales are a risk of river and sea flooding, with an additional 2.4 million homes at risk of surface water flooding. One in four homes in the UK are at risk of surface water flooding and ground water flooding, as well as wave overtopping. However, a survey undertaken by the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign revealed that 83 per cent of homeowners do not believe their homes are at risk of flooding and 68 per cent had no measures in place to minimise the risk to their home. Importantly, although 95 per cent of homeowners surveyed by Know Your Flood Risk had contents insurance, 45 per cent do not know whether their insurance policy covers flood damage.

In addition to advising homeowners on their flood risk, Know Your Flood Risk provides information and support on flood recovery and general flood resilience via its acclaimed guides. As part of its bid to educate homeowners and businesses on their flood risk, Know Your Flood Risk provides access to flood, powered by Landmark Information Groupís flood risk data, which enables owners to assess the flood risk to their individual property.

Explaining the key issues behind the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, Mary Dhonau said, ďNever has it been more essential to invest in both building and maintaining flood defences. If we are to avoid vast swathes of the country being brought to its knees on a regular basis, then we must invest heavily in all aspects of flood risk management. Too many homes have been built in inappropriate places and the knock on effect on individuals and communities has been devastating and costly. We urgently need a cross party consensus for managing floods, one that will address all forms of flood risk, one with an ambitious long term goal that will embrace innovation and investment to reduce flood risk.Ē

In follow up to the reception at the House of Commons, Mary Dhonau will publish a blog on ABIís Flood Free Homes campaign website, in which she shares her personal experiences of having her home repeatedly flooded and echoes ABIís calls for increased investment in flood defences and flood risk management, and an end to building new properties in areas at risk of flooding.

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