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Defra announce plans for flood relief assistance

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by Kay Mitchell

One year on from last summer’s devastating floods, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is proposing to assist homeowners and businesses to better protect their premises from the affects of flooding.

Defra is to commit £125,000 to setting up a website and phone line together with the Environment Agency.

The aim is to provide people with the guidance and information required in order to protect their properties from flooding.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), there are 517,000 homes at significant risk of being flooded. The floods last summer cost the ABI’s members £3 billion in claims.

Furthermore, nearly 5,000 homeowners are still living in temporary accommodation following last year‘s floods, according to the Government.

Nearly 50,000 properties were affected by the floods last June and July, with Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and South Wales worst hit.

Environment minister, Hilary Benn, said people are understandably concerned about how they can protect themselves from flooding in the future.

A lot can be done in order to reduce the impact of flooding on both residential and business properties, if people have the right advice and assistance to do this. By doing this, the terms of your insurance can be improved added Mr Benn.

The website and the proposed grant scheme will go towards ensuring that people are supported to make the right choices for their properties, he added.

Over the last 12 years, over £5 billion has been invested in flood and coastal erosion risk management. There are plans to invest over £800 million per year by 2010-11.

Environment Agency chairman, Sir John Harman, said we can‘t stop the rain but the impacts of flooding can be lessened.

The website will allow people to understand better the information we and others already provide and practical steps they can take, concluded Sir John.

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News posted: June 22, 2008

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