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Are Home Owners To Blame for Buying a Home on a Flood Plain?

Since December, thousands of people in the south east and west of the United Kingdom have been blighted by floods. Unprecedented rain and tidal surges, something which has not been seen for hundreds of years in some places have had devastating effects on peoples live. Although those effected are playing the blame game, David Cameron has stated now is not the time to point fingers. However Lord Smith has decided now is the time to point fingers and he is pointing to home owners.

Whilst families are being rescued from their homes, are losing precious positions and are facing an uncertain future, The Chairman of the Environment Agency Lord Smith decided it was time to state that ‘Anyone who builds in a flood plain, anyone who buys a property in a flood plain, needs to think about the flood risk.’

His comments are of course controversial, at time where people are at their most desperate, they are not comments of comfort, and however is he right? Or as many people suffering think, the Environment Agency is to blame? Speaking about his remarks, to the BBC, Lord Smith stated: “When planning applications come in for this sort of building we are a statutory consultee, but we are not the statutory planning authority.”

For the home owners whose homes have been flooded, many of them state that there have never been floods where they are, not at least in the last hundred or so years. So for these people, when purchasing a property, flooding was never considered a risk. Other knew of some of the risks, however many accept the Environment Agency to be minimising the risk and doing their job at protecting people. After all when local government dis-allowed housing to be built on flood plains Central Government Okayed it, surly something would have been done to minimise risk or Central Government should be shouldering some blame?

Speaking about the situation for many homeowners, Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “We have always lived here, we have never had a problem like this. It is the abject failure of the governance at the Environment Agency which has left me in the position where I’m standing in between a massive, multi-million pound operation to save the houses that we have been building here since Roman times. It is an extremely arrogant and out of touch comment by a man from Islington [north London]. At the very best insensitive, at the worst it’s totally out of touch arrogance which we’ve got to know this man for.”

At a time when homeowners are already facing increasing costs, news that they are to blame, could have negative effects in future, including higher insurance premiums or not being able to find insurance at all. And for those currently besieged by flood water, the slow response by both the Environment Agency and the Government only enrages those even more. Many people are now looking for aid themselves, what we see when catastrophes happen abroad, the question is will the Government find the money for the UK?

Images courtesy of aiddy; Number 10 and OmegaPoint

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