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Insurer Urges Swift Action to Create Resilient Homes in the Face of Climate Change

In a compelling call to action, Aviva, a prominent insurer, stresses the urgency of developing "climate-ready" homes. The company advocates for retrofitting and reinforcing properties to withstand the increasingly severe impacts of extreme weather caused by climate change.

To achieve this goal, Aviva urges the implementation of stronger planning policies to discourage construction in high-risk areas. Additionally, they propose making it mandatory for all new-build properties, not just those in high-risk zones, to incorporate basic and cost-effective climate resilience measures.

According to Aviva, taking these precautions can significantly reduce the carbon cost associated with restoring flood-damaged properties. Measures such as flood doors, sealed brickwork, and raised electrical points prove invaluable in lowering carbon emissions by reducing the need for extensive building restoration and replacement of contents.

Failure to protect homes from flooding not only results in financial and emotional distress but also carries a significant carbon footprint equivalent to six-and-a-half return transatlantic flights, as estimated by Aviva.

Adam Winslow, CEO of Aviva UK and Ireland General Insurance, emphasises the interconnectedness of adapting to extreme weather and reducing emissions, stating that both aspects need to be addressed in tandem to avoid a vicious cycle.

To become a leader in achieving net-zero targets, the UK must address carbon emissions from less recognized sources, including the carbon cost of flooding. Aviva's report emphasises the need to proactively design, plan, construct, and repair homes to withstand the inevitable increase in extreme weather events due to climate change.

Friends of the Earth's head of policy, Mike Childs, supports Aviva's call for urgent action and suggests that in addition to improved flood protection, better insulation for existing homes is essential. This step not only keeps people comfortable but also reduces energy bills, making it a crucial aspect of climate adaptation.

In response to these concerns, a Government spokesperson acknowledges the impact of climate change on flooding and states that measures have been taken to protect over 300,000 homes since 2015. The government is also working with the industry to ensure access to affordable insurance for homeowners affected by floods and to enhance the resilience of affected households.

The spokesperson further assures that the impact of climate change is already being considered in the approval of developments, and consultations on reforms to national planning policy are underway to support climate change adaptation further. 

In conclusion, the call from Aviva, a leading insurer, for urgent action to create "climate-ready" homes is a crucial wake-up call for society to face the pressing challenges of climate change. As extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, it is imperative that we take proactive measures to safeguard our homes and communities from the devastating impacts of flooding and other climate-related risks.

Aviva's proposal to retrofit and build resilient properties, along with strengthened planning policies, offers a promising roadmap for a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. By incorporating basic and cost-effective climate resilience measures in all new-build properties, we can significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with flood damage and work towards achieving net-zero targets.

The message is clear: adaptation to extreme weather and reducing emissions go hand in hand. As we strive to become leaders in combating climate change, it is essential to address carbon emissions from all sources, including those less recognized, such as the carbon cost of flooding.

In this shared responsibility, both the government and individuals must play a vital role. The government must enforce supportive policies and reforms while prioritising green power, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Simultaneously, homeowners should consider every aspect of their built environment, from design to construction and repair, to ensure climate readiness.

With collaboration, determination, and a collective commitment to climate action, we can pave the way for resilient homes and communities that can withstand the challenges of a changing climate. It is time to embrace this opportunity to create a sustainable future for generations to come, where the impact of extreme weather is minimised, and our planet's health is safeguarded.

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