This motion updates and develops policy on flooding. Existing policies on flooding are set out in policy motion Managing the Impact and Risk of Flooding (2007).
F22: Flooding, a New High Water Mark
(Passed with no amendments)
Conference endorses the Liberal Democrat vision of a sustainable future where we live within our environmental as well as financial means.
Conference notes that:
A. Flooding is an issue that affects the entire country, with 1 in 6 households at risk.
B. Climate change is a driver of more frequent extreme weather and so is likely to be the biggest contributor to worse floods in the future.
C. The annual cost to the UK economy of flooding is estimated at £1.1 billion and could rise to over £27 billion per year by 2080.
D. Funding for flood defences has increased by £400million over this Parliament compared to the last.
E. The Environment Agency estimates that an extra £20 million per year above existing levels needs to be invested in flood defences between 2010 and 2035 to sustain current levels of protection.
F. The National Audit Office reported a saving of £8 for every £1 of capital investment in flood defences.
Conference welcomes the £2billion committed by government to flood defences during the 2011-15 spending period. However, we believe that we also need to meet the long term investment required to maintain the current level of protection.
Conference further welcomes:
i) The implementation of the majority of the recommendations of the 1998 Pitt Review and resulting 2010 Flooding and Water Management Act by the Liberal Democrats in Coalition Government.
ii) The Water Act 2014 and in particular Flood Re which ensures millions of household have access to affordable flood insurance in a progressive and fair way.
Conference calls for:
a) Real terms investment in flood defences to increase in accordance with Environment Agency recommendations.
b) Monitoring of the availability and affordability of insurance for houses built after 2009 to make sure that affordable flood insurance remains available to all.
c) The Government to work with small business organisations and the insurance industry to make sure that small businesses have access to affordable insurance to protect vibrant local economies in flood prone areas.
Conference recognises that it is more cost effective and sustainable to utilise natural flood defences, working with the environment rather than working against it.
Conference therefore further calls on the Government to:
1. Encourage landowners and farmers to manage the countryside to mitigate flooding to downstream communities.
2. Promote research into and implementation of natural flood defences, such as the restoration of peatlands and woodlands, and the development of coastal habitats.
3. Develop clear guidance for Lead Local Flood Authorities on how to take flooding into account when planning development and extend the legal requirement for 'betterment' so developers ensure that the flooding situation downstream of any development leads to an improvement, rather than just the maintenance of, flood protection levels.
4. Commission a study into how best to improve building regulations so that building works, within the means of the householder and the insurance company, improve the resilience of a building to flooding events.
5. Create a monitoring framework for measuring how effective Local Flood Risk Management Strategies are in the medium and long term and set clear targets by which to measure the effectiveness of the National Flood Strategy.
6. Ensure that the uptake in Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems is increased to maximise value for money for the taxpayer.
7. Ensure that measures are taken to proactively prevent and control flash flooding from endangering life and property.
Applicability: England only.