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Buckskin Flood Alleviation Scheme

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 21 January 2021

What discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on when the Buckskin flood alleviation scheme in Basingstoke will be completed. (911160)

I understand that the Buckskin flood alleviation scheme became operational on 24 December, Christmas eve, reducing flood risk to 170 homes. Final minor works are now scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2021, and the scheme has been delivered within budget despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

That is welcome news, because just a few years ago Buckskin was devastated by floods. My thoughts are with those who were flooded out last night in Greater Manchester, north Wales and Merseyside. No one can stop flooding completely, particularly groundwater flooding, so in addition to this very welcome flood scheme, what assurance can my hon. Friend give that homes affected by floods will still be able to get property insurance?

I thank my right hon. Friend for highlighting that issue. The joint Government and industry Flood Re scheme was designed to help householders at high flood risk to access affordable insurance. Flood Re is available from more than 85 insurance brands now; more than 300,000 properties have benefited since its launch. Before Flood Re just 9% of households who had made flood claims could get quotes from two or more insurers, but in June 2020, 96% of households with prior flood claims could receive quotes from five or more, so I hope my right hon. Friend agrees that that is a hugely improved situation.

Many parts of the country are currently facing severe flood warnings, and our thoughts are with those who have been flooded overnight. We need a proactive rather than a reactive approach to this crisis, so will the Minister today commit to holding an emergency flood summit that brings together agencies and regional leaders to make sure that we have a co-ordinated response to support local communities?

We held a flood summit covering the south Yorkshire area shortly before Christmas later last year. I have also said that we want to hold a series of roundtable meetings around the country covering individual water catchments.