Lack of timetable for draft bill worries association as it calls for ‘rapid political consensus’

The ABI has called on the government to introduce measures to ensure flood insurance remains available for more than two million homeowners.

The association’s blueprint comes in response to the government’s long-awaited draft Flood and Water Management Bill, published a fortnight ago.

The bill outlines plans to make local authorities legally responsible for managing flood risk and surface water. It also encourages water companies to share their information with local authorities.

However, the ABI has published its own proposals that it wants included in the bill when it is finally put before Parliament. It proposes:

  • Strong national leadership on flood management, with targets to reduce flood risk. The Environment Agency should have a statutory duty to reduce flood risk.
  • Community action to reduce flood risk. This should include requiring the Environment Agency and local authorities to help homes and businesses that it is not practical to defend from flooding.
  • Modernise the approach to flood risk management, for example by developing a more risk-based approach regulating reservoirs.

No target date has been set for the bill to be put before Parliament, or any detail released on how its proposals will be funded, prompting Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s director, to call for a rapid political response.

The ABI is concerned that without urgent action, millions of homeowners and businesses in risk zones could be excluded from flood insurance.

Haddrill said: “We need a rapid political consensus to deliver reform.

“We urge all parties to work together, to ensure that this bill delivers better flood protection to the millions of homeowners and businesses at risk of flooding in England and Wales.

“And we await publication of a long-term funding strategy, which is essential in ensuring that flood insurance remains widely available.”

A draft bill has been on the cards since Sir Michael Pitt’s report in June last year demanded urgent changes to flood risk management.

His report responded to the catastrophic floods of 2007 in which 13 people died. They also caused more than £2bn damages.