Lewes Flood Action has welcomed the agreement between the Government and the insurance industry to provide affordable insurance to flood risk properties.
On the expiry of the existing agreement this summer, homes in vulnerable sites not protected by flood defences would have faced huge increases in the cost of insurance or having to take on the risk themselves.
Under the new agreement, insurers will pass the flood risk element of household insurance to Flood-Re, a not-for-profit fund administered by the insurance industry.
Flood-Re will be funded by a levy of approximately £10.50 per household insurance. Premiums on flood risk properties will be capped at £210 for homes in council tax bands A and B rising to £540 at Band G.
Houses at Band H are not covered, nor are houses built since 2009 in high risk areas and commercial properties.
Since flood insurance is a prerequisite for getting a mortgage, affordable rates are essential for the housing market to operate in flood risk areas.
The new scheme, which applies to all properties and not just existing customers, should be up and running by summer 2015. Meanwhile insurers will continue the old scheme for existing customers.
Insurance rates for householders in low flood risk areas will not rise noticeably because they already include an element of cross-subsidy for the old scheme.
“Lewes has been largely fortunate in the recent heavy rainfall,” said John Clark, Lewes Flood Action Secretary whose jewellers shop at Cliffe Bridge is at the pinchpoint of the River Ouse.
“We have been lucky that the very large volume has been spread over a number of days unlike the Great Flood of 2000.”
When the North Street Quarter development is built, all the properties in the town that flooded in 2000 will have some sort of publicly funded defence apart from the Town Centre West cell and the 12 homes at Monks Way and Dunvan Close in North Malling.
Whilst it is good that they will continue to have affordable flood insurance available, we believe the authorities must urgently find funding for flood defences for these areas as well, said Lewes Flood Action.
The community group was set up after the 2000 flood in Lewes to campaign for flood defences and to lobby for action on flood issues.