The first ‘named’ storm of the winter had now hit the UK, with Storm Angus causing chaos across the south of England. We’re already on the spot in the worst-hit places, helping people with their insurance claims as the waters subside.
It’s the first real incident since the introduction of Flood Re and let’s hope we’ll see fewer people facing problems because they’d been unable to get affordable flood insurance cover. But there seem to be a few problems at Flood Re. Firstly, the Chief Executive has left after only a few months in the job. Then there was a recent article which claimed that some homeowners in high-risk areas are being refused insurance because their properties are wrongly listed in Flood Re’s database. And now Direct Line has reported significantly higher costs because of the impact of Flood Re, which might affect prices in the future.
Finally, it was reported last week that Friends of the Earth have serious concerns over the government’s failure to commit funding to natural ways of preventing flooding, despite ministers repeatedly backing the idea. We’ve written about these schemes before, which can involve planting trees or creating natural ‘sponge’ areas or diverting water through imaginative use of kerbs and local roads.
But some slightly better news came out of last week’s Autumn Statement: over 5000 more homes and businesses will be better protected from flooding through plans to spend £170 million on improving flood resilience. This isn’t new money – it’s just the next allocation from the £700 million pledged earlier this year. But at least it means that some high-risk areas will be clearer on their future. Most of these are towns and villages badly affected by the winter floods of 2015/16.
As we move into December, we await the next storm, wherever that may be. In the meantime, if you’ve been affected by Storm Angus then we’re only a phone call away.