Insurers in call for tighter building rules at flooding hotspots

Aviva

Aviva

First published in News by

Planners and developers have shrugged off new warnings by insurers against building homes in flooding hotspots such as York.

The head of Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurer and one of York’s largest employers, has called for houses to be given a flood rating so buyers are aware of the risks.

Mark Wilson, the company’s chief executive, is also demanding a house-building freeze on what he calls “defenceless” flood plains.

The insurance boss spoke out in the wake of the devastating floods swamping much of southern England.

But his concerns will also be seen to reflect on schemes such as York's Germany Beck development.

Mr Wilson wants business to work with the Government to reform the house buying system so flooding becomes a “critical factor” in the decision to purchase.

He said: “Better quality, more accessible data should be made available to house purchasers.”

The UK insurance industry has paid out more than £5bn to homes and businesses hit by flooding since 2000, compared to just £1.5bn in real terms for the previous decade.

However, Steve Turner, floods expert for the industry trade body, the Home Builders’ Federation, said: “Very few homes are now built on flood plains or areas of flood risk.

“In recent years, the number has dropped such that we are now building fewer than at any point since records began – less than five per cent in terms of land-use stats. Indeed we are only building in total in this country each year just over 100,000 homes, very few of which are on flood plains.

“There are 23 million existing homes in this country of which over five million are on flood plains.” In the few instances that homes are built on flood plains, extensive mitigation measures are put in place, he added.

“For the last decade to obtain a planning permission housebuilders have been required to produce a Flood Risk Assessment,” he said.

“This will have included mitigation measures against the risk of flooding, both of the development and any impact on the surrounding area.

“Ultimately it is local authorities that decide where development takes place, and, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, decide on the suitability of a site in flood risk terms, and what mitigation measures are required.”

Darren Richardson, of City of York Council environmental services, said: “We work closely with all applicants through the planning process to ensure that all new homes and buildings that may be proposed to be built in areas where there is a flood risk are suitably protected.

“Equally, we seek that each development does not increase the flood risk through appropriate sustainable drainage solutions.

“The Germany Beck development follows this process and the developer has provided appropriate flood mitigation measures as well as wider improvements on the A19 that will improve York’s flood resilience.”

Comments (9)

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9:57am Wed 19 Feb 14

MrChuckles says...

"Cough.... Germany ..cough.. cough .... Beck... cough"
Not "if" ... but when Germany Beck floods in the future, wont get any sympathy from me. Also, if they take the option to put in flood defenses at Germany Beck, the areas that then flood as a result, as the water is consequently forced elsewhere will have every reason to be majorly pis*ed off!
"Cough.... Germany ..cough.. cough .... Beck... cough" Not "if" ... but when Germany Beck floods in the future, wont get any sympathy from me. Also, if they take the option to put in flood defenses at Germany Beck, the areas that then flood as a result, as the water is consequently forced elsewhere will have every reason to be majorly pis*ed off! MrChuckles
  • Score: 22

10:10am Wed 19 Feb 14

Woody G Mellor says...

MrChuckles wrote:
"Cough.... Germany ..cough.. cough .... Beck... cough"
Not "if" ... but when Germany Beck floods in the future, wont get any sympathy from me. Also, if they take the option to put in flood defenses at Germany Beck, the areas that then flood as a result, as the water is consequently forced elsewhere will have every reason to be majorly pis*ed off!
MrChuckles has just said what everyone else is thinking, except for the council and developers, as they don't think.
[quote][p][bold]MrChuckles[/bold] wrote: "Cough.... Germany ..cough.. cough .... Beck... cough" Not "if" ... but when Germany Beck floods in the future, wont get any sympathy from me. Also, if they take the option to put in flood defenses at Germany Beck, the areas that then flood as a result, as the water is consequently forced elsewhere will have every reason to be majorly pis*ed off![/p][/quote]MrChuckles has just said what everyone else is thinking, except for the council and developers, as they don't think. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 22

10:18am Wed 19 Feb 14

roskoboskovic says...

reading the last few paragraphs you could be forgiven for thinking that the germany beck area had never flooded.how is a flood risk assessment relevant for an area that already floods.surely this only applies to areas potentially at flood risk.areas such as germany beck should surely never be considered suitable considering the recent flood disasters.
reading the last few paragraphs you could be forgiven for thinking that the germany beck area had never flooded.how is a flood risk assessment relevant for an area that already floods.surely this only applies to areas potentially at flood risk.areas such as germany beck should surely never be considered suitable considering the recent flood disasters. roskoboskovic
  • Score: 12

10:44am Wed 19 Feb 14

BL2 says...

Flood risk assessment? "Yes it might flood". (Will). How about an actual policy of NOT building on or near flood plains!
Flood risk assessment? "Yes it might flood". (Will). How about an actual policy of NOT building on or near flood plains! BL2
  • Score: 12

11:08am Wed 19 Feb 14

Archiebold the 1st says...

i remember when my solicitor sent me my flood report for my house... it was high risk and red on the map... strange as its on top of a hill with zero chance of flooding... guess the point is some areas will show they are in hotspots when they aren’t and some the opposite. its cheaper to do a desktop survey. Imagine instead of current profit margin the insurer did a visit to actually see what chances there are of an area flooding...


now back to my song... ;
Don't build your house on the sandy-land,
Don't build it too near the shore,
Well, it may look kind of nice
But you'll have to build it twice,
Oh, you'll have to build your house once more.

You better build your house upon the rock,
Make a good foundation on a solid spot.
And though the storms may come and go,
The peace of God you will know.
i remember when my solicitor sent me my flood report for my house... it was high risk and red on the map... strange as its on top of a hill with zero chance of flooding... guess the point is some areas will show they are in hotspots when they aren’t and some the opposite. its cheaper to do a desktop survey. Imagine instead of current profit margin the insurer did a visit to actually see what chances there are of an area flooding... now back to my song... ; Don't build your house on the sandy-land, Don't build it too near the shore, Well, it may look kind of nice But you'll have to build it twice, Oh, you'll have to build your house once more. You better build your house upon the rock, Make a good foundation on a solid spot. And though the storms may come and go, The peace of God you will know. Archiebold the 1st
  • Score: 5

12:21pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Sillybillies says...

The easily solution is not to insure houses built on flood plains. Why should the rest of us who have bought wisely be paying extra to subsidise the claims of the stupid?
The easily solution is not to insure houses built on flood plains. Why should the rest of us who have bought wisely be paying extra to subsidise the claims of the stupid? Sillybillies
  • Score: 9

3:57pm Wed 19 Feb 14

MarkyMarkMark says...

What Sillybillies said. Yes.

Maybe some proviso for people who've bought homes which weren't covered by any kind of flood assessment previously, and haven't already flooded in the last 50 years. Say 100% increase in basic premium? Or a stonking great excess?

The real trouble is it take a developer who goes bust because people won't buy homes on a floodplain because they can't get insurance for any kind of market forces to work. And people are hopelessly optimistic/stupid/de
sperate for somewhere to live at a sensible price to not buy in the first place, and developers too greedy, and I suspect to many planning processes subject to vested interests, so what it will take is central legislation. From a government without any mates in the construction industry, probably.
What Sillybillies said. Yes. Maybe some proviso for people who've bought homes which weren't covered by any kind of flood assessment previously, and haven't already flooded in the last 50 years. Say 100% increase in basic premium? Or a stonking great excess? The real trouble is it take a developer who goes bust because people won't buy homes on a floodplain because they can't get insurance for any kind of market forces to work. And people are hopelessly optimistic/stupid/de sperate for somewhere to live at a sensible price to not buy in the first place, and developers too greedy, and I suspect to many planning processes subject to vested interests, so what it will take is central legislation. From a government without any mates in the construction industry, probably. MarkyMarkMark
  • Score: 1

10:55pm Wed 19 Feb 14

gwen4me says...

You can build on floodplains if you build a house that can cope with flooding ,i.e on stilts. Not rocket science.
You can build on floodplains if you build a house that can cope with flooding ,i.e on stilts. Not rocket science. gwen4me
  • Score: 2

1:32pm Thu 20 Feb 14

mrcharly says...

They know it floods.

The plans have always included a pumping station and a large area of bunded farmland between the development and the A64.

Seems utter lunacy to me, when there is vacant brownfield land that doesn't flood, to build on land that requires additional flood defenses to protect it.
They know it floods. The plans have always included a pumping station and a large area of bunded farmland between the development and the A64. Seems utter lunacy to me, when there is vacant brownfield land that doesn't flood, to build on land that requires additional flood defenses to protect it. mrcharly
  • Score: 2

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