2007 floods cost UK £3.2bn, says Environment Agency

The urgent need to increase investment in climate adaptation measures will be again be underlined later today with the release of a major new report from the Environment Agency, which calculates that the floods of summer 2007 cost the UK £3.2bn.

The study, which is being positioned as one of the most comprehensive assessments of flood costs ever undertaken, calculates that the widespread flooding cost households and businesses a total of £2bn.

It found that the average cost for each household that was inundated was between £23,000 and £30,000 - a scenario made even worse by the fact a quarter of households affected were not fully covered by insurance.

The average cost incurred per flooded business was between £75,000 and £112,000, while five per cent of firms affected were not adequately covered by insurance.

The floods also caused about £660m in damage to critical infrastructure and essential services, according to the report, with water supplies and treatment plants the worst affected, followed by roads, electricity supplies, agriculture and disruption to schools.

Utility companies and their customers incurred the lion's share of the costs, picking up a bill of £330m, including £186m of costs for water companies and £139m in costs for electricity and gas suppliers.

Robert Runcie, Environment Agency Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management, said that the study suggested that similarly high costs would result from the recent flooding in Cumbria.

The Environment Agency said the report again underlines the importance of continued investment in managing flood risks that are expected to rise as a result of climate change.

It said that investment in improved flood protection will need to almost double to £1bn a year by 2035 to keep pace with the affects of climate change, but calculated that this investment would save England some £180bn in avoided flood costs.

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