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Flood Defence


ABI says 200,000 homes could be left without insurance cover


Not just your ordinary Flood Gates!


Pictured -The Ace Team


As part of the flood protection works, to protect property and land in Thorne, Moorends and Fishlake, the Environment Agency have installed a unique set of floodgates. During severe high water levels it was possible for water to breach the embankments adjacent to the bridge.


The company chosen to supply the flood gates was Aquatic Control Engineering, who used their own in-house design team for the unique gates.


The key requirements were to avoid unwanted attention from vandals whilst allowing for quick deployment in times of flood. ACE Flood Barriers are housed within a purpose built enclosure and can be pulled out with minimal effort when required.


INNOVATIVE SEAL DESIGN


The design of the barrier is unique in that the seals can be easily changed without the use of lifting equipment. This is achieved by using a sliding mechanism to allow full access to the seal around the gate. This alleviates the cost of cranes at regular service intervals and makes regular maintenance on ACE Flood Barriers cheap and effortless.


The Flood Barriers are also fitted with chamfered wheels which run in a V-shaped groove. The unique design of these ensures that the seal is only in contact with the surrounding structure when it is in the closed position, again, improving the seal lifespan.


EASY DEPLOYMENT


The chamfered wheels are fitted to jacking screws which lifts the door clear of the frame, allowing the barriers to glide into position with minimal effort. Once deployed, the barrier seal is clamped and locked into position to provide a water tight seal (even at full head) and prevent unauthorised removal.


Previously, in the event of flood warnings, the construction of a sand bag wall was required which was extrememly labour intensive and time consuming. With ACE’s new flood barrier the man hours required for deploying defences has been drastically reduced, by as much as 95%.


ACE would like to thank Amco Engineering Ltd and the Environment Agency for the opportunity to provide ACE Flood Barriers for this project and hope continue developing this product throughout the UK


Up to 200,000 homes in England and Wales have been warned they will struggle to obtain adequate flood insurance after June 2013, when the insurance industry's voluntary flood agreement with the government ends.


In 92 constituencies there are 1,000 or more homes at high flood risk, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said after analysing the latest Environment Agency flood data.


Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire is the constituency with the most homes at significant risk of flooding, with 7,550 properties under threat, followed by the Vale of Clwyd (7,339 homes), Folkestone and Hythe (7,196), and Windsor (7,125). A property is defined as being at risk if it has a one in 75 chance of flooding in any given year.


The risk of households being unable to obtain cover is heightened by an ongoing row over who pays for the flood defences needed to maintain protection for the 5m homes at risk across the UK.


Adrian Webb of esure said there had been a "gentlemen's agreement" between insurers and the government since 1961.


"The government of the time said government would be responsible for flood defences, and in turn the insurance industry would include flood cover as standard. At the end of the 1990s it was becoming clear that the government's side of the equation was not being met – and will not be met in future," he said. The current flood insurance statement of principles agreement with the government, agreed in 2000 as a short-term measure, ends in June 2013. It states that insurers must include flood cover as standard for properties built before 1 January 2009, where the risk of flooding is low; and, crucially, insurers must allow at-risk households who already have flood cover to automatically renew cover with the same insurer, as long as flood defences are planned to be in place within five years.


For further information conact ACE on info@aquaticcontrol.co.uk or tel: 01777 249080 www.aquaticcontrol.co.uk


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The ABI's director general, Otto Thoresen, said this "grossly distorts the market" because people in lower risk flood areas pay more to subsidise those at higher risk. "Customers in high risk areas are tied to their


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existing insurer, and those insurers covered by it have ended up with a disproportionate number of high flood risk properties."


Webb said insurance in general "ensures a flow of money from the fortunate to the unfortunate. But the difficulty comes in areas where flooding isn't accidental or a peril anymore, but a certainty. Then it becomes a redistribution of wealth and not insurance."


The public accounts committee said the government "needs to reach an agreement with the insurance industry urgently and work more closely with it to ensure insurance cover is both available and affordable" – something echoed by Webb. He said the insurance industry needs to have "very strong words with government between now and June 2013."


He added: "The government can't force insurers to compensate consumers for its own failure to invest in flood protection. If an agreement can't be reached one of two things will happen: either cover will become unaffordable in areas where there is a strong likelihood, of flooding or costs will rise for everyone. The areas identified by the ABI would probably be hit first."


In a December 2011 article for the Town and Country Planning Association David Crichton, visiting professor at University College London and at Middlesex University Flood Hazard Research Centre, said an end to the current agreement on insurance would be a good move in the long run, "because flood insurance provides economic penalties to discourage building in flood hazard areas. [But] in the short term, withdrawal of insurance cover is likely to lead to blight and a fall in property values."


Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said some households could soon encounter problems: "Some insurers are telling us that flood- prone homeowners might not be able to renew their cover later this year, because their new policy will extend beyond 1 July 2013: with all the implications for property value and mortgage availability that this implies. That does not augur well for the 5.2 million families estimated to be at risk from flooding."


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