Tougher planning controls are needed if flood insurance is to remain widely available for new homes, an insurance trade body warned yesterday.
The Association of British Insurers said a third of the three million new homes the Government planned to build by 2010 would be on a flood plain.
It added that during the past year alone, 13 major developments had been given the go-ahead despite advice from the Environment Agency that they would be at risk from flooding.
About seven of the sites are deemed to be at high risk from flooding, including a new caravan park and a development of bungalows.
The group warned that unless tougher planning laws were put in place, increasing numbers of homes would become unsaleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable.
Speaking at the Architects' Journal conference, the ABI's assistant director of property Justin Jacobs said: "Where a local authority plans to ignore flood risk advice, the Government should step in and review the proposals and be compelled to publish their decision.
"Insurers want to continue to provide flood cover, but poor planning decisions will lead to more homes becoming unsaleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable."
The group said that despite it now being a statutory requirement that the Environment Agency be consulted on new developments, planning permission was still being given despite the agency highlighting flood risks. At the same time it said some new developments were displacing flood risks to other areas.
The ABI warned that unless flood risk was taken into account for new developments, the cost of insuring new properties would continue to get more expensive, while some homeowners could find it increasingly difficult to obtain cover at all.
* Information on flood risk needs to be more localised, the man leading a review into last summer's devastating floods said yesterday.
Sir Michael Pitt told a meeting of the Local Government Association the country was not well prepared for the scale of the disaster.
Torrential downpours in June and July caused billions of pounds-worth of damage and claimed a number of lives. Sir Michael told the LGA in central London: "In terms of the scale of the disaster, it ranks alongside almost anything that has happened in peacetime."
* An estimated 1.5 million homeowners collectively faced a £4.5 billion repair bill after their roofs were damaged by high winds in the past year, new research shows.
The average homeowner had to pay £2,800 to have their roof repaired as a result of storm damage in the past 12 months, according to Halifax Home Insurance. Overall, the wind caused an average of 127 tiles to be blown from people's roofs, the equivalent of 200 million tiles across the country.
In some cases the missing tiles allowed large volumes of water to leak into properties, causing around £1,604 of damage per incident.
About four per cent of affected homeowners said flying tiles and other debris had damaged their car, while 15,000 people reported having windows broken.
ICM questioned 2,053 homeowners during January.