Whereas TfL have been taking action to unblock drains and fix many, if not all, of the flooded pedestrian underpasses that I’ve raised with them, trying to get the Environment Agency to do anything has been rather harder.
Flooding is a growing threat. Unpredictable weather, heavier rains and hotter summers are all the hallmarks of the climate crisis. With one-in-100 year floods now seemingly every two to three years, we must be prepared for urban flooding.
Quite apart from doing all we can to avert further climate damage, insuring homes protects residents from financial ruin.
I wrote to the minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience, Rebecca Pow MP, in June this year, reminding her of her own comments that recent research had found that 9% of policy holders with a prior flood claim could obtain flood insurance quotes from two or more insurers, but none could get quotes from five or more.
Following the launch of the Government’s scheme, ‘Flood Re’, around 96% of households with prior flood claims can now receive quotes from five or more insurers, with most customers getting more than 10 quotes.
It is great news that the scheme is providing people with quotes, but not everyone gets a quote, and those who do may not be able to accept it as it is unaffordable.
I know the Flood Re scheme is trying to ensure affordable premiums and excesses for the policyholder, so I asked the minister to ensure that Flood Re is monitoring the market effectively to ensure that everyone in London is able to find affordable flood insurance.
There is some hope, for once, of funding help from the Government, who announced in March 2020 that the amount invested in flood and coastal erosion schemes would be doubled in England to £5.2 billion, between 2021 and 2027, with London expected to receive £290 to £350 million.
However, the Government should go further to help. For example, their current target is for 95% of properties in London not to be at risk of sewer flooding in up to a 1:50-year storm event. I’ve asked the Government to up that target to 100% to keep all Londoners safe.
With the very real threat of climate change, the Government must do everything it can to reduce the threat of flooding to homes – and make sure there is real financial help if and when it does happen. I look forward to hearing a positive response from the Government.
- Anne Clarke is the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden.