Over 5,000 new homes have been approved to be built in the UK in areas that are at the highest risk of flooding according to a new report released in November 2021.
The 60-page report Plain dealing – Building for flood resilience published by LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) and independent think tank Localis ahead of Flood Action Week, provides a detailed analysis of over 16,000 planning applications that has revealed the number of granted planning permissions to highlight the significant issue.
The report said with climate change set to worsen, coupled with pressures to build more homes across the UK, the concern is this could leave millions of homeowners at risk of experiencing the trauma of a flooded home.
The report has called for a change to stop development of high-risk flood zones. It said a long-term holistic approach to flooding should be developed, with property developers, insurers and local authorities working together to tackle the issue of building on floodplains to protect consumers.
The research conducted for the report has revealed that almost 200 planning permissions have been granted for 5,283 new homes in the highest-risk local authorities in the country, with the majority (4,255) in areas pre-identified as highly likely to flood.
In the last decade floodplain development has increased by 12% due to a growing population and the overwhelming need for new homes. England is likely to see properties built in areas at high risk of flooding almost double – an increase from 2.4m to 4.6m – over the next 50 years.
Not only does flood damage cause significant disruption and ruin people’s homes and possessions, but it also costs an estimated GBP1.1bn ($1.47bn) per year in England.
According to LV= GI, the average cost of repairing a flood damaged home is approximately GBP32,000 with the most common cause of flood damage this year due to drains unable to cope with the amount of surface water.
With flooding events increasing, this is worsened by the fact that only 12% of local authorities strongly agree they have the skills and expertise to understand flood risk when making planning decisions – now and in the future.
The report has recommended a future risk-based approach to development - the insurance industry should work with the government, local authorities, developers and other major stakeholders to help inform what measures might be needed in the future to help mitigate against climate change and ensure that homes are and remain insurable. M