Network says government action on improving flood defences required to avoid "two-tier" property market

CETA has warned that owners of properties in flood-prone areas face a bleak financial future unless the Government turns its rhetoric on strengthening flood defences into action.

Managing director, David Quick, said that without a Government timetable for action, a ‘two-tier’ market is developing where the price of property perceived at risk of flooding is being hit harder in the current downturn and will continue to be held back in any future recovery.

Quick said: “This month’s floods have underlined the fact that Government pledges to strengthen defences have yet to be translated into action. Ministers talk about the funds allocated for the work, yet few projects have actually got underway.

“While they dither there is increasing evidence that flooding is no longer a seasonal threat but year-round, while some areas have been hit several times – making it increasingly unlikely that insurers can indefinitely maintain the undertaking to provide flood cover for everyone.

He said the prospect of flood insurance ‘no go’ areas will stifle sales activity for properties as buyers opt for less exposed areas.

He said: “There has been a host of strong arguments against building on flood plains, which ministers have turned a deaf ear to. The wider property market is in a serious downturn, but buying in an area prone to flooding is an even more unattractive proposition.

“Ministers need to convince insurers that the timetable for improving flood defences will be honoured or, even better, accelerated. There is little point in the Government taking expensive measures to revive the market such as raising the stamp duty threshold, while at the same time they undermine those efforts by inertia in tackling the growing flood threat.”