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'Stop building on flood plains'

Housebuilders and councils have been warned by one of the UK's biggest insurers to stop developing new homes on flood plains.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said that local authorities should not "bow to pressure to provide housing stock by giving planning permission to build in high flood-risk areas".

The warning comes nearly a year on from the unprecedented summer flooding in large parts of the UK. Cities such as Hull are still recovering from the devastation.

"A year ago 180,000 people made claims for flood damage over a period of two months. That's normally four years' worth of claims and totalled £3bn," added Mr Douglas.

The AA has called for improvements to drainage, much of which proved unable to cope with last year's rain. It has also warned that if the Government doesn't step up its flood-defence strategy, homeowners could find it harder to get buildings and contents cover.

Mr Douglas said: "We are aware that some insurers are assessing the continuation of cover, particularly where flood risk is not adequately managed and depending on the level of government investment in inland and coastal defences."