The warning from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors(RICS) comes as global insurers start estimating the cost ofcleaning up Europe after the worst floods in a century.

RICS has told ministers that UK flood defences are ill preparedto deal with climate change because of the haphazard nature of thesystem currently in place. The complexity of the planning system,the number of local councils, water authorities and governmentagencies involved, and the length of time it takes to put measuresin place, are all leaving people and property at risk.

RICS chief executive, Louis Armstrong, said: "The government hasyet to heed our warning and take steps to improve the system. Wehave already seen serious flooding this summer in the UK, andwinter is just around the corner. Unpredictable and extreme weatheris becoming more frequent."

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