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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 02:03 GMT
Insurance warning over flood risk
Thames Barrier
The Thames Barrier is London's primary flood defence
UK homes and businesses could become uninsurable to flood risk in the future unless more money is spent on better defences, an insurance firm has warned.

One key concern is around 200,000 new homes are planned for flood risk areas, particularly in south east England.

More Than's report also warns defences being built now may not prove adequate in future and believes 3.5 million homes will then be at risk of flooding.

The firm said the government had made progress, but more needed to be done.

The report also warned the Thames Barrier was only designed to be effective until 2030, yet substantial new development was planned behind it.

David Pitt, the firm's head of insurance, said the government had made progress by including plans to raise spending on flood protection in England and Wales in recent spending reviews.

He said it was also positive the government had acknowledged the role of the Environment Agency in the planning process.

Climate change

"However more needs to be done, particularly with the potential for climate change to drastically affect weather patterns and cause disaster for homeowners and businesses," he added.

Mr Pitt said claims made to More Than after a significant flood averaged 30,000 "to get the property back to normal".

He added it was "imperative" the insurance industry continued to raise issues about the future of flood protection and work closely with the government to ensure home owners and firms had adequate protection.

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