I am sitting here writing this blog and staring outside at the rain lashing down and am thinking what is with the weather lately? I know, we are in Britain, so it should be expected but it does appear we have been particularly hard hit this winter, not by the usually disruptive inch or two of snow but by the widespread storms and flooding over the last few months.
I have read many reports recently that all seem to differ in their opinion over what are the causes of the flooding and storm damage in December 2013 and continuing into January 2014. Some are attributing the “extreme weather patterns” on climate change, however Paul Homewood’s article (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/07/is-englands-bad-weather-a-sign-of-climate-change/ ) has pretty strong evidence that the amount of rainfall is nothing out of the ordinary and indeed December 2013 was certainly not even the wettest that has been recorded in recent times.
Others are quick to blame the Environmental Agency, claiming that there is not enough being spent on defences and preventative action. The Environmental Agency are responsible for flood warnings and mapping but also for the general management and upkeep of the river and sea defences in the UK. As like many other agencies, they have had recent budget restraints and staff cuts and many people and insurers see that not enough has been done in the anticipation of flooding. The Somerset levels flooding, effecting over 26 square miles with up to 6ft of water has been largely blamed on the lack of dredging. The damage caused by the flooding in this area alone has been estimated at over £50 million, rather than the £3 million it would have cost to dredge the rivers in the first place (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10595534/Somerset-Levels-Theres-nothing-natural-about-this-man-made-flooding.html ).
Another valid argument is the extensive housing development on flood plains meaning many more properties have been put at risk from flooding. The urbanisation of areas also means that rainwater goes through the systems quicker which can lead to flash flooding and surface water flooding when the water systems cannot manage it effectively enough (http://www.insurancetailors.co.uk/flood-map-changes-james-lavers/ ).
Whether the weather of late is attributed to natural or man made causes, it does seem apparent that more properties are flood affected in the UK. Insurers are becoming more and more reluctant to provide flood insurance or are looking at strict preventatives and large excesses on policies. The government has agreed with insurers to provide affordable flood insurance through a levy on all household into a pot called Flood Re to cover these most at risk properties, however many high net worth and new build houses are excluded from this.
If you are interested in finding out more on flood insurance please speak to one of our advisers on 02071993252.