Homes and businesses have been urged to embrace new, innovative products to reduce the risk of flood damage, a move which would be bound to affect home insurance premiums.
The Environment Agency chairman made the call, saying 5.5 million at-risk properties in England and Wales should be made more resistant. Lord Chris Smith also urged building merchants and DIY stores to advise builders and ordinary citizens on making properties more resilient, so drying out and cleaning will be quicker and cheaper.
A sixth of properties face flooding risk, he said, adding that people can be encouraged to improve their buildings so water causes less damage.
Lord Smith spoke at the National Flood Forum annual conference in Birmingham. He cited the experience of Appleby in Cumbria in showing the effectiveness of flood protection products.
During the floods of last November, 46 properties in the town deployed individual flood protection barriers, on receipt of a flood warning from the Environment Agency. The products had been financed by Defra through a pilot scheme, at a cost of around £2,000 or £3,000 per property, and as water was cascading through the main street of the town, those 46 properties remained dry.
© Press Association 2010