VILLAGERS have to play a ‘waiting game’ to see if they will get compensation after flood defences failed to protect homes in Kempsey, near Worcester.
A total of 15 homes flooded when the Hatfield Brook burst its banks on Sunday, November 25, but the Environment Agency has not admitted liability for the failure of flood defences.
Flood guru Mary Dhonau has been working to support flood victims – about a third of homes flooded in the village were not protected by insurance with many homeowners struggling to get cover after the floods over the summer of 2007.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Until our investigations and discussions with our suppliers are complete, the Environment Agency will not be making any decision regarding liability. We are treating people fairly and continue to talk to individuals directly affected, in relation to compensation.”
As previously reported in your Worcester News an independent report by Arup blamed the automatic sensor that works the pumps which malfunctioned after it got submerged by flood water.
The pumps were part of £1.7 million flood defence scheme which were officially opened on Saturday, July 28 last year.
Mrs Dhonau, who has been running support groups for flood-hit villagers, said it would take time to assess liability because so many people were involved in the defences.
Mrs Dhonau said she felt “angered” that more people could not get insurance and says she wishes some of them came to her before they were flooded as she has contact with insurance companies who would cover flood-prone homes. She said it was now important for the Government and insurance companies arrived at “a sustainable solution”.
She said: “The people who flooded are having talks with the Environment Agency. They are awaiting a visit from a loss assessor from the Environment Agency. They are playing a waiting game.”
Mrs Dhonau, who runs her own flooding consultancy and is chairman of the Flood Protection Association and chief executive of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, said the community needed to get together and write an emergency plan. She believes homes needed alarms and sirens so people have the chance to move cars and other possessions and get to a place of safety in the event of flooding.
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: “We continue to discuss with this Government the model that we developed to safeguard the availability and affordability of flood insurance. We’re doing everything we can to see if we can reach a deal with government and understand that homeowners and communities want clarity as soon as possible.”