As many of us are rushing to tidy up and get things ready for Christmas, I am sure that many of you, like me, will spare a thought for those people in North Wales and on the East coast of the UK, who will be out of their homes this Christmas as a result of the havoc wreaked by the recent storms and flooding, and be thankful that our area was not affected this time. The scenes on our TVs were a stark reminder of just how susceptible we are to flooding.
That’s why I spoke up during a recent parliamentary debate on the Water Bill, specifically on the very important section on insurance for properties in areas liable to flooding. This legislation paves the way for the introduction of the Flood RE scheme, the purpose of which is to provide a real choice of affordable insurance for properties at risk of flooding, properties which, without this scheme, would be impossibly expensive to insure. I very much hope that this will help residents who have been experiencing difficulty re-insuring or switching provider.
But one thing that the Government and insurance companies are clear about is that the scheme will not apply to properties built after 1st January 2009, in keeping with the Statement of Principles, drawn up after the 2007 floods. That is why it is so important that local planning authorities do not give approval to build new homes in areas which are liable to flood, or they could prove impossible to insure, and therefore impossible to sell.