The final bill for flood damage caused by this winter’s storms to homes, businesses and vehicles is likely to reach £1.3bn, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The figure is less than half the 2007 total of £3bn, but nearly three times the 2013-2014 tally of £450m.
A spokesman for Flood Re, the not-for-profit company created by government and insurers to transfer flood risk costs, told Transport Network: 'We have done our sums on the basis of the three most recent storms and are confident that our funding is adequate to more than cover the damage they have caused'.
Flooding the market: Insurance scheme has enough to cover £1.3bn
Flood Re will accept policies from 04 April 2016, with most UK home insurers already on board. It will enable companies to pass on the flood risk element of home insurance at a premium that reflects a property’s council tax rating.
It has emerged following estimates that, otherwise, between 300,000 and 500,000 UK households at risk of flood would struggle to secure affordably priced cover.
Meanwhile Daniel Johns, of independent advisory body the Committee on Climate Change, has dismissed as 'essentially meaningless' Government claims that it increased spending on flood defences ahead of the wettest-ever December 2015.
Following earlier comments that the Government's £2.3bn commitment to new and improved flood defence had been made back in December 2014, he added that: 'the Government has yet to announce how much funding they will put into the maintenance of existing defences'.
The Association of Drainage Authorities states that the Environment Agency’s funding for upkeep has fallen by 14%.
But an Environment Agency spokesperson told Transport Network that the figure is an 'apparent reduction' compared with 2014/15, when there was a spike in funding to deal with the aftermath of the 2013/14 floods.
He added: 'We agree our maintenance programme each year with local partners.'
Professor David Balmforth, flood expert and past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), said: 'Government’s commitment to invest £2.3bn in flood risk management over the next six years is welcome, but as extreme weather events become more frequent and unpredictable, we will need a more holistic approach to flood resilience.
'For example, local communities need a wider range of resilience measures so they are not solely reliant on conventional defences, we must adopt a ‘systems’ approach which tackles the ‘domino effect’ we see across the networks, funding for the maintenance of existing defences should be factored into spend plans from the outset, and where new development is proposed we should ensure resilience is at the heart of the design - not an afterthought.'