New homes must be built to tougher flood protection standards, council chiefs have said.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, called on the Government to introduce a range of new building regulations including ensuring that electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring are raised above floor level.
It also suggested flood defence funding should also be devolved to local areas, so that local authorities can work with residents and business to direct the cash 'where it is most needed'.
Insurance experts have estimated the damage done by the extreme weather this winter could end up costing around £5bn.
Cllr Martin Tett, LGA environment spokesman, said: ‘It would be easy and inexpensive for developers to introduce a raft of measures to ensure homes and offices are more flood-proof. These simple and straightforward steps could in the long-term save thousands of homes and businesses from some of the catastrophic damage and trauma which we saw this winter.
‘We are urging the Government to make it a mandatory requirement for builders in at-risk areas to better protect properties from flooding.’
Cllr Tett also pushed for councils to keep landfill tax. The LGA highlighted landfill tax is calculated at just over £82 per tonne, and 'could be invested back into projects that will support local jobs and growth, rather than go to the Treasury'.
An average 1.66 tonnes of household goods and freezer waste has had to be removed from each of the 21,000 homes and businesses that were flooded this winter, the LGA claimed.