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Insurers association calls for flood plan

The Government must develop a 25-year strategy to manage the UK's growing risk from floods, an insurance trade body said today.

The Association of British Insurers has called on the Government to embark on an investment programme that reflects climate change and the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and drainage systems.

The group also called for stronger planning controls to ensure new developments are not built in areas at a risk of flooding, and said consumers should be given more information on which areas of the country are at high risk.

The recommendations came in the ABI's report on learning the lessons from this summer's floods.

The floods in Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire will cost the industry more than £3 billion, and have combined with other events to make 2007 the worst ever year for weather-related claims.

Stephen Haddrill, director general of the ABI, said: "This summer's devastating floods highlight the urgent need for a long-term strategy based around more investment, national co-ordination and better land use planning.

"Insurers want to continue to provide flood insurance. The right decisions from the Government will ensure that flood insurance remains widely available and affordable in the UK."

The ABI said the Climate Change Bill should make it a statutory objective for the Environment Agency to reduce flood risk, and it should also co-ordinate efforts to identify, assess and reduce the risk of flooding from all sources, including drainage.