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Mortgage article :Government urged to back its own commitment to flood defences

Thursday 6 June 2002

The Council of Mortgage Lenders today called upon the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Paul Boateng MP to increase spending on flood defences, in line with the Government's own recommendations.

The CML's call follows publication of figures by the Office for National Statistics on 28 May 2002 showing that 11% of all new dwellings built in England between 1997 and 2000 were in areas defined as at flood risk by the Environment Agency.

Lenders and insurers are becoming increasingly concerned about possible widespread flooding of people's homes. Unless there is positive action by the Government, areas that are regularly flooded may become blighted because people cannot get insurance, with the result that their properties become unmortgageable. 

Insurers have agreed to continue to offer cover to existing policyholders in flood risk areas until the end of this year, but there is evidence of premiums and excesses are rising. Someone selling a property in an area at risk of flooding may find that potential new owners have problems in getting insurance. And it is possible that, from the end of this year, there will be a small number of areas where insurers are not willing to offer cover at all.

The CML is calling on the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury to approve the spending of between 120 and 140 million on flood defences to maintain present standards, as recommended in the Governments own National Appraisal of Assets at Risk, carried out last year for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The CML's Deputy Director General Peter Williams commented: Next page

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