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British Property Federation joins flood debate

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The British Property Federation (BPF) has added it’s opinion to the flood cover debate, saying the issue could “sink the economy”.

The BPF made the comment in support of the findings of a report into the state of the nations flood defences.

The report from the Public Accounts Committee accused the Department for Environment, Flood and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that it “had not yet adjusted its long-term investment strategy and could not tell us what the scale of the long-term funding gap would be” in the face of budget reductions, and it “did not accept ultimate responsibility for managing the risk of floods”.

The report was skeptical that households and businesses would be able to make up the shortfall caused by government spending cuts. It suggested that homeowners, property investors and insurers alike would not have proper flood management if the proposed system is implemented.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said: “DEFRA needs to work to secure a new agreement as quickly as possible. Given the state of the economy, there is severe doubt private investment can reach the levels it is expecting.

“It is right that those who benefit from flood defences help to fund them, but we struggle to see how, the demands of flood protection, when added to other planning obligations, all have an impact on development viability, which government must recognise.

“A lot of focus is on householders, but the impact of flooding on businesses can have significant consequences, which spread into the wider economy and cause damage beyond the immediately flooded area.

“The UK has a great tradition of universal insurance cover, which is predicated on sufficient investment going into flood defences.

“We shall rue the day if that is lost.”