Changes to flood funding system a step in the right direction

Article date: 12 March 2003

Norwich Union welcomes the reforms announced today by ElliottMorley, Defra minister, on the way funding for flood defences isallocated.

In response to the Government’s Flood and Coastal DefenceFunding Review, the insurer recognises the changes as a steptowards more effective management of flooding.

As well as the changes to the way funds are allocated, theReview has also pledged to streamline the number of agenciesresponsible for flood protection schemes.

Although the reforms are welcomed, there are some elements whichare still outstanding, including how additional money will beraised for flood and coastal defence, and the role of developers– a particularly important issue in light of recentlyannounced plans to build many more new homes across the SouthEast.

To help protect more vulnerable communities, the insurer is alsocalling for a review of the criteria used to prioritise where flooddefences should be built – an issue which continues to affectthose in high flood-risk areas. A recent survey by Norwich Union*revealed that three quarters of people living in high risk areassaid there are no flood defences in place or planned for the futureto protect their property.

Commenting on the announcement, Nick Pierson, head of publicaffairs, Norwich Union, said: “In the last 12 months theGovernment has taken a number of steps towards tackling some of thekey elements to managing flood. We’re pleased thattoday’s Review has recognised the need to urgently streamlinethe current funding system.

However, we’ve seen by the floods this winter thatflooding still remains a threat to many communities across the UK.To help protect these vulnerable communities, we would like to seea review of the criteria used to identify which areas qualify forflood defences by including all the true costs of flooding. We willalso be looking to see what proposals the Government have on therole that developers play in protecting homes built in flood-riskareas.”

Tomorrow an adjournment debate on flood and coastal defenceswill be held in the House of Commons, which gives MPs theopportunity to discuss the issue.

Media contact:
Liz Kennett at Norwich Union press office on 08703 66 68 63

Notes to editors:

  • *Norwich Union commissioned research amongst 2,200 adultsacross the country, including 1,200 residents in eight keyflood-risk areas. Interviews took place between 5-18 February2003.
  • Norwich Union has been involved in a number of initiatives tohelp find solutions to problems of flooding. For example, theinsurer has commissioned a digital map of Britain to help pinpointand understand exactly which areas of the country are at risk fromriver flooding. The map will be used to provide more accuratepremiums for individual homes and businesses according to theirrisk of flood.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer with a marketshare of around 16 per cent and is more than 1.5 times the size ofits nearest rival. It is also the largest personal linesinsurer.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at www.aviva.com
  • A selection of images is available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

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