Increased risk of flooding 'inevitable' – Flood Re chief

Former city minister and outgoing chair of Flood Re, Mark Hoban, has today warned that the UK must urgently adapt to climate change and prepare for an increased risk of flooding.

Speaking at the launch event of Flood Re's new Transition Plan, Hoban said that whilst the UK has been fortunate enough to have escaped widespread flooding in recent years, the risk will "inevitably return", becoming more persistent in the UK as the climate gets wetter and warmer.

“Today, Flood Re is here to pool the risk and make sure people can access affordable flood insurance, but we’re a medium-term solution that will end by law in 2039. While we can be proud of what has been achieved, we need to go much further as climate change-related damages grow," he said. “This is not just about a small number of homes by a river or on the coast – over three million homes in urban areas are now at risk of flash flooding. If significant numbers of homes are left unprotected when we leave the market in 2039, both the insurance and £1.3trn mortgage sectors could find themselves facing instability.”

The organisation's new Transition Plan sets out the actions the UK needs to take to make sure it is flood resilient by 2039, including making sure flood risk and climate change are included as central principles in planning and environmental policy; and maintaining and increasing investment in civil flood defences.

Flood Re was created as a public-private partnership between the government and the insurance industry in 2016, when fewer than 1 in 10 homes with a previous flood claim could get flood insurance quotes from two or more insurers. Today, it says that 99% of householders at high risk of flooding are able to obtain quotes from 15 or more insurers. By statute it will exit the market in 2039 and is mandated to provide plans for the UK to become flood resilient and have in place a risk-reflective market by then.

Climate change-related damages cost the UK approximately 1.1% of UK GDP at present – a figure that is forecast to rise to 3.3% of GDP by 2050.

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