The government is to bow to ABI pressure over how to deal with flood risks.

Last month, the ABI accused the government of not being committed enough to reduce the risk of flooding through planning applications and investment in reducing local risks. These were areas where the government should act, it said.

But, in what will be seen as a major victory for the ABI's new director of general insurance, Nick Starling, the government is set to embrace the trade body's recommendations.

Last week, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, said the government was looking to strengthen the planning policy for flood risk areas and introduce a statutory responsibility to consult the
Environment Agency.

This comes after the ABI warned that one in four planning applications to which the Environment Agency objected was going ahead.

It said the agency should become a statutory consultant for all applications in flood risk areas.

At the same time, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister, Elliot Morley, accepted the ABI 's view that increased investment was necessary to reduce
risk in local areas.

He said: "Flood risk management is an evolving area.

"Gone are the days when we talk simply of flood defence.We have always sought to develop new approaches to managing flood and coastal erosion risk, and the past five years or so have seen significant change."

Starling said: "We very much welcome this.

"It is very important there is ongoing hand-in-hand work when looking at new property development in high risk flood areas."

It has been less than a year since Starling came to his ABI post,promising to kick down the doors of government to get his message across (Insurance Times ,20 January).

He said there was still no room for complacency.

"We cannot let up now."