One in ten new homes built in England over the past seven years have been constructed on land at the most risk of flooding, it was revealed last night.
More than 84,000 at-risk properties have been built since 2013, with the number of homes built in these areas annually more than doubling in recent years.
Experts claimed the Government should review housebuilding targets amid claims councils are facing pressure to build more homes despite a lack of suitable sites.
A car drives through water in Fishlake during flooding in South Yorkshire last November
A car in floodwater outside a home in Fishlake near Doncaster during last November’s floods
It comes as a rural insurance firm estimated it would pay out £20million in claims for damage caused by Storm Ciara as communities handle the aftermath of Dennis.
Rob Wilby, a geography professor at Loughborough University, told The Guardian: ‘We’re compounding the existing risk by continuing to build on the floodplain.
‘The more we’re paving over natural areas the more we’re making it easier for water to move across the land and enter rivers.’
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has promised to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s to help solve the housing shortage.
Properties have been flooded in the Shropshire town of Ironbridge, pictured yesterday
John Baddham checking pumps in his back garden, flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, yesterday in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
But data revealed in the Guardian shows the number of new houses built on at-risk land rose from 9,500 in 2013 to 24,000 in 2016-17, then fell 20,000 in 2017-18.
Some 20 per cent of new homes in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, have been built on at-risk land since 2015, despite their being four floods there in the past eight years.
Calderdale council leader Tim Swift said: ‘There’s got to be a look at planning policy and the relationship between housing numbers and the pressures on flooding.’
An MHCLG spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘Local authorities have a responsibility to assess the number of homes their communities need and our planning policy is clear that housing should be located in the areas at least risk of flooding.
A view of Upton-upon-Severn yesterday as the Worcestershire town sits surrounded by water
‘Where development in a high risk area is absolutely necessary, sufficient measures should be taken to make sure homes are safe, resilient and protected from flooding.’
Meanwhile insurance company NFU Mutual has said it is expecting to pay out around £20million in claims for damage caused by Storm Ciara.
The firm, which insures many homes and businesses in rural areas, has received more than 2,800 claims in the wake of Ciara and a further 1,000 related to Dennis.
Around 90 per cent of the claims are for personal home insurance related to severe damage including fallen trees, damage to roofs and chimneys being blown over.
A man helps a postman deliver letters to residents in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, yesterday
The firm said while Ciara prompted more claims for storm damage due to heavy winds, the subsequent storm brought heavy rain in localised areas causing more flood claims.
Fellow insurer Aviva saw a 285 per cent surge in calls and claims after the damage caused by Ciara.
Insurers have said it is too early to estimate the total cost of the damage from the two storms, but NFU Mutual said flood damage is expensive to repair, averaging £20,000 per claim.
Following widespread flooding in Yorkshire and the Midlands in 2019, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimated claims would cost insurers up to £110 million.
Floodwater at a caravan park in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, yesterday following Storm Dennis
Storm Doris in February 2017 cost £11.5million in payouts from NFU Mutual as the cost of Storm Desmond in 2016 reached £36million.
In December 2016, Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank hit areas of the UK and cost fellow insurer Direct Line between £110million and £140million in claims.
Paul Branch, NFU Mutual head of claims, said: ‘Storm Ciara is one of the worst storms to hit the UK for several years and we’ll be paying out in the region of £20 million to help our customers get back into their homes and businesses as quickly as possible.
‘Even at this early stage we are also aware of more than 1,000 claims for Storm Dennis, and we expect the numbers to continue to increase as more customers submit their claims for damage.
A man removes a tree blown over by Storm Dennis in Birkenshaw, West Yorkshire, on Sunday
‘The number of severe flood warnings is decreasing with water starting to make its way to rivers, so thankfully we’re expecting the situation on the ground to start getting better for most regions.
‘We remain concerned about customers in Tewkesbury, Wales and Herefordshire and the Lake District.’
The (ABI) has advised people facing damage or flooding to contact their insurer as soon as possible.
Many insurers have 24-hour emergency helplines and they may be able to arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse.