As a contribution to the debate around flooding and flood resilience the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has produced a report, ‘Turning the Tide’, in which it has invited the government to adopt the following ten point plan:
Initiate a national debate on the priorities of future capital expenditure for flood defence.
Review the UK’s comparatively low protection criteria and the 1:8 cost benefit ratio for flood defence approval.
Make the Resilience Direct database more accessible. Aggregate disparate databases into one national data bank.
Introduce an easily understood flood risk scale.
Use smart technology to improve the quality of warnings. Make Environment Agency alerts ‘opt-out’.
Make flooding a primary consideration in planning policy and continue to clarify SuDS standards.
Support innovative British property level protection firms both domestically and internationally.
Review the Repair and Renew Grant so that it is a genuine, long-term incentive for individuals to improve their property defences.
Reform Flood Re so that it includes SME property, ensure policy holders are rewarded for improving their defences by reducing premiums.
Consider restructuring the Environment Agency and setting up a new Water Agency.
Commenting, EIC’s Executive Director Matthew Farrow said:
“Flood policy needs a reboot, otherwise we will continue to see so-called 1 in a 100 year floods causing untold damage and misery every few years. We need some specific changes, such as extending FloodRe protection to small businesses, and making the Repair and Renew Grant a permanent scheme that incentivises home-owners in at-risk areas to invest in property-level protection. But we also need to rethink our approach to flood risk more widely. How can we make better use of ‘big data’ to identify and anticipate flood risk and potential flood damage? And should the economic value of areas be the main criteria for prioritising flood defences?”