The government must speed up its investment in flood defences or risk a repeat of the devastation caused in the summer, council leaders have today warned.In an official submission to the Pitt Review into the summer floods, the Local Government Association(LGA)has called for the implementation of an action plan backed by investment to reduce the flood risk across the country.
Back in July, Gordon Brown promised to increase funding for flood prevention from £600 million to £800 million. However, this money will not be available until 2010/11. Council leaders have warned a three-year delay in this investment could lead to a repeat of this summer’s floods, and consequently higher costs for the taxpayer.
In its submission to the Pitt Review, the LGA has called for a systematic review of the flood risk we are facing in the UK, our preparedness and the steps needed to both mitigate and adapt to it.
The LGA is recommending:
* Investment in better flood defences
* Clearer roles and responsibilities for drainage and additional investment in our drainage system
* Encouragement and incentives for householders to take flood precautions
* Stronger requirements for utilities to safeguard essential infrastructure
* Tighter planning controls for construction on flood plains or near watercourses
* Buildings that are better adapted to resist extreme weather
The cost to the insurance industry of this summer’s floods is estimated at £3 billion. The Association of British Insurers has warned the industry will be unable to provide cover without substantial investment to reduce the risk of flooding.