Action Desk: Floods timebomb - the case for defence

After the flood: Dan Jarvis chatting to residents on Lang Avenue in Lundwood, Barnsley.
After the flood: Dan Jarvis chatting to residents on Lang Avenue in Lundwood, Barnsley.
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AFTER five floods in five years, residents on Lang Avenue in Barnsley have highlighted the need for defences – and an insurance timebomb that could affect thousands.

MP Dan Jarvis visited the street in Lundwood after surging waters inundated homes again.

Flood defence work on the River Don at Nursery Street in Sheffield

Flood defence work on the River Don at Nursery Street in Sheffield

He discovered some people were covered, some people were unable to afford insurance after previous claims and a third group were refusing to claim to prevent premiums soaring.

He said: “It is heartbreaking for people who have lost valuables, white goods and furniture.

“For many of them, this is not the first time they have suffered like this and it is time that action was taken so their homes are protected.”

But their ordeal could hit thousands more people if the insurance industry scraps a promise to continue to provide flood cover to existing customers.

The Statement of Principles expires in June 2013.

Aidan Kerr, head of property at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers are determined to do everything possible to ensure that a competitive market for flood insurance exists when the Statement of Principles expires in June 2013.

“This is why the ABI is continuing in constructive discussions with the Government to explore ways in which this may be possible.”

More than 500,000 homes and businesses will be at “significant” risk of flooding in the future without more investment in flood defences, the Government’s advisers on climate change have warned.

Floods which have had a devastating impact in the past few weeks are likely to become more common in the future as the climate changes and increases the chances of extreme weather, Lord Krebs of the Committee on Climate Change said.