The House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee has called for more support for owners of property at risk from flooding.Targets issued in the Water White Paper included increasing the number of homes with water meters and better management of the way water is taken from the rivers.A large part of England faces flooding as reported rainfall is at its highest in many years.The Water White Paper was backed by the Country, Land and Business Association as the report looked into the control of water in a changing population and climate."The Government's level of funding needs to be increased to give confidence to the insurance industry to provide cover for properties at risk of flooding" said CLA President Harry Cotterell."And there should be a revision of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management funding process so that rural properties are not disadvantaged."MPs warned that many of the proposed reforms would not happen fast enough. Plans to extract water from rivers by the 2020s was cited as an example.
Cotterell said that the funding process has only recently been introduced and is essentially a pilot scheme which needs to be reviewed and warned that future investment should first be secured.
"The insurance industry does not like subsidising the premiums paid by owners insuring properties in high-risk areas by increasing the premiums of owners in areas at lower risk of flooding. Therefore, only Government support will give confidence to the insurance business to provide cover that is affordable" he said.
"It is also vital the insurance industry properly recognises maintenance or improvement works carried out to flood defences by individuals or communities through reduced policy charges. Government support and endorsement is essential for this to happen."Without a future plan for the renewal of the agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), property values may be affected.
"You would not buy a property unless you were sure you could insure it at an affordable price" the CLA President said.Many farming unions voiced their disapproval of the Efra Committee recommendation to bring forward the abstraction proposals. They claimed that the price review would disadvantage farmers and land managers if they were not also compensated for any license being revoked.The associations reiterated their view that fair allocation of water for farmers and land managers was key to future food production needs.