Flood-hit areas earmarked for new homes
Local authorities are planning to develop hundreds of new homes on land that is currently under water, it has been revealed.
Councils in some of the areas worst affected by the UK's flooding crisis, such as the village of Wraysbury in Berkshire and Chertsey in Surrey, have published proposals to develop a wide selection of residential properties on flood-hit land.
But Aviva, Britain's largest insurer, is calling for a halt to building on "defenceless" floodplains. In recent years, tens of thousands of homes have been built in areas of significant flood risk, with the British insurance industry paying out in excess of £5bn homes and businesses since 2000.
Mark Wilson, chief executive of Aviva, said: "As a nation we need to build more homes, but the cost of development must include the cost of defences. Let's be crystal clear: no defences, no development."
Over 85,000 homes were without power last Saturday following the latest storm, which caused havoc across the country and killed at least two people. However, despite the recent turmoil, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has defended the decision to build new homes on flood plains.
He told the press: "The whole of the Thames Valley is a flood plain, there has to be a proper balance. We need to avoid the highest risk areas when we do build in lower flood risk areas that properties are built in way that minimises the risk of flooding.
"Like everything in the real world a balance needs to be struck, it's very easy to say today, because we're in the middle of this crisis flood resilience is not the only issue. It's a very important issue but it isn't the only issue."