Residents urged to contact agency over flood insurance

Coun David Parker.
Coun David Parker.
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A fresh reminder about insurance has been issued to Morpeth residents who will benefit from the new flood defence scheme.

It was made by the town council after it discovered the official opening of the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council project has not had an immediate impact on premiums.

The authority worked with the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) and the town’s chamber of trade to campaign vigorously for a fairer flood insurance system at national level over a four-year period.

Following negotiations with various groups and the insurance industry, the Government legislated in 2014 with a Water Act that calls the agreed scheme Flood Re. It is expected to come into force in April 2016.

MFAG warned last month that premiums will not necessarily go down automatically and after making inquiries, the town council has discovered that residents are still waiting for the change in price to happen.

At a meeting of the authority’s finance and general purposes committee, chairman Coun David Parker said: “The problem is that the Environment Agency has not yet amended its flood maps to take account of the significant reduction in risk in the Morpeth area, now that the alleviation scheme is fully operable.

“It is not expected that its maps will be brought up to date for some considerable time, as they have to be amended by the agency at national level.

“In the light of this, householders are advised to approach the Environment Agency, which will provide them with specific advice about the flood risk to their property that it can then pass on to their insurers. Such contact can be made either by e-mailing northeast-newcastle@environment-agency.gov.uk or by calling 0191 2034105.”