Councillors call for update to town’s flood premiums

Pictured, from left, are Coun Bob Robertson, Coun David Bawn and Coun David Clark at High Stanners.
Pictured, from left, are Coun Bob Robertson, Coun David Bawn and Coun David Clark at High Stanners.

Morpeth councillors have called on insurance companies to reduce its prices for flood cover as a result of new defences in the town.

The alleviation scheme, which was officially opened last week, protects the area from up to a one-in-137-year flood – this equates to the severe flooding that took place in September 2008.

Work is continuing to establish the new Flood Re approach that involves linking premiums to council tax bands and setting up an industry-backed levy.

In the meantime, the local representatives hope the high profile nature of the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council project means that enough insurers will adjust their charges so that they all need to lower costs to keep customers or attract new ones.

Morpeth North county councillor David Bawn said: “Flood insurance is a really worrying issue for large swathes of the town, with insurance becoming unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

“I hope that insurers will update their records and recognise that the risk to central Morpeth is now down to acceptable levels. As a result, they should offer insurance accordingly.”

The Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) has previously urged residents to check their insurance status and get in touch with the agency to get a letter confirming the new protection if necessary.

Town councillor David Clark, who has been flooded out in the past, said: “Now that the defences are complete, this needs to be recognised by the insurance industry.

“Recognition also has to be given to volunteers like MFAG members for all their tireless work in liaising with the Environment Agency and the county council as this scheme progressed.”

Fellow town councillor Bob Robertson praised the two organisations for ‘grasping the nettle’ in quickly forming a partnership when the new funding arrangement for def-ence schemes was introduced.