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Average rain 'could bring new floods to Britain'

By Yvette Essen
Last Updated: 4:02am BST 20/08/2007

Homeowners have been told that even average rainfall could lead to further flooding this year.


    The Association of British Insurers' (ABI) warning came as the insurance bill from summer's deluges approached 3 billion.

    In a letter to Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, the ABI called on the Environment Agency to increase spending on flood defences.

    Stephen Haddrill, the ABI director general warned that the industry was bracing itself for more bad news. "We are told that in some areas the flood plain is so saturated that even normal rainfall could lead to further flooding," he said. He also confirmed the huge bill for the recent floods: "The cost to the industry of over 60,000 claims is approaching 3 billion and more claims continue to come in," he said. In a thinly-veiled threat to the Government, Mr Haddrill said that in most other European countries the cost would have been borne by the government, not the insurance industry.

    "The UK is almost unique in covering flood risk through insurance," he said. "The Government's contribution would have been far in excess of the 15 million so far committed."

    Mr Haddrill also claimed that poor maintenance of watercourses and drains meant that flooding had occurred outside areas identified by the Environment Agency's flood-risk maps.

    However, he welcomed Mr Benn's announcement last month that flood defence spending would increase to 800 million in 2010-11.