Now that the winter floods of 2014 have receded, many victims will continue to piece their livelihoods back together over the coming weeks and months ahead. Some hard questions are being posed about the extent of flood defence spending, particularly following the budget announcement when a further £140 million was apportioned to it. This reactive pronouncement is unsurprising. Major crises open up policy windows and opportunities. The key challenge is not to make overly hasty pronouncements but to think of considered approaches that are more likely to be beneficial over the longer term. How might we best use this opportunity to think creatively about flood risk management? Perhaps the question should be: How we can best use resources to increase flood resilience, rather than how we can defend against flooding? One glimmer of hope was offered in the announcement that affected households could apply for a Repair and Renewal Grant. This is an attempt to counter the insurance industry’s insistence on holding to the “betterment clause” which means insurers will only pay to return properties to the state they were in before flooding took place rather than improving their ability to cope with future flooding. But if households are to […]

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