Government urged to act over worsening surface water flooding.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called for government action to reduce the growing problem of surface water flooding.

It said around 80,000 properties are currently at very high risk of being flooded due to inadequate drainage and an increase in concreted areas. Every year 6,000 homes are hit by sewage flooding. Two thirds of the damage from last summer’s floods was caused by surface water flooding.

Justin Jacobs, the ABI’s head of property, said: “One of the key lessons from last summer’s devastating floods is that we need to rethink how we manage excessive rainfall. A detailed assessment of the risk posed from heavy rainfall and where improvements are needed, a more coordinated approach and, crucially, adequate investment is the only way we can haul Britain’s Victorian drainage systems into the modern day.”

In its response to the government’s consultation on improving surface water management, the ABI calls on the government to introduce a Floods Bill to give the Environment Agency overall responsibility for managing all forms of flooding, including surface water flooding, and to require all local authorities to produce a local surface water management plan.

It said this would include assessing where improvements to drainage are needed. It added that the Bill should also give the Environment Agency and local authorities the power to secure co-operation from other bodies, such as water companies.

The ABI also wants new money allocated to the Environment Agency and local authorities, in addition to what is allocated for river and coastal flooding, to implement this new approach. And it called for amore sustainable approach to drainage for all new developments.