Professor David Crichton warns against any further building of new houses on flood plains

Local and central government need to start planning ahead to cope with the likely increase in flooding in the UK, a leading insurance expert says. Professor David Crichton will tell a conference in central London this Thursday, that climate change will mean storm and flood hazards will almost certainly intensify, and strongly warns against any further building of new houses on flood plains. He urges local authorities to introduce measures to reduce the vulnerability of their communities to flooding.

Speaking at the event organised by the accountancy body CIPFA, Professor Crichton will warns sewers and drainage systems are currently being overloaded through large-scale new developments, leaving them unable to cope with future severe rainfall.

Professor Crichton will say: “Much needs to be changed. Society could start by using some common sense to make the right kind of changes to reduce vulnerability in the face of the increasing hazard and exposure from climate change. Major policy changes will be needed to try to move people away from the exposed population centres in low lying areas.”

Crichton is a keynote speaker at the CIPFA Better Governance Forum Annual Conference which is taking place on 18 October 2007 at Wembley Stadium. The event, attended by senior local government and public sector figures from across the UK, will also hear from the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, on the Government’s anti-fraud policies, as well as the Assistant Information Commissioner, Jonathan Bamford who will speak about protecting personal data.

An independent insurance consultant and visiting professor at the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, University College, London, David Crichton maintains that the insurance industry can sidestep many of the problems in the short term, but will warn of the dangers of a breakdown in social cohesion and the Rule of Law.

“It seems there is little that can be done about hazards and exposure, so perhaps we should concentrate on reducing vulnerability. Unfortunately, vulnerability is also increasing, especially in England. We really have no time to lose,” he will say.