Serious floods like those suffered this month are likely to be a feature of Suffolk life in the years and decades ahead, Lord Deben has warned.

The peer, who was a Suffolk MP for 31 years until 2010, warned that without big cuts to fossil fuel use extreme weather like we have seen  over the last two years is likely to become the norm.

As John Gummer he was Environment Secretary and Minister for Agriculture in John Major's governments in the 1990s.

He was also head of the government's Climate Change Committee before standing down from that role earlier this year.

Lord Deben look time off from speaking in the House of Lords to talk about the lessons that need to be learned from the flooding.

His family home just outside Debenham was not flooded - and they were able to put up people from the village who had to leave their homes last Friday.

But he warned that this kind of incident could become more common - and said it was vital that people took action to reduce their energy consumption.

He said: "I was reading a book recently that had been written by a US airman who spent a year in Suffolk with his squadron just after the war ended.

"He said this area was so beautiful because you got light showers at any time of the year and you didn't get the searing heat they got at home in America.

"When you look at what we've had over the last couple of years, with summer droughts and October floods, its exactly the opposite of what he was describing.

"And this seems likely to become the norm - in less than 80 years."

East Anglian Daily Times: Lord Deben pointed out that wind turbines now produced the cheapest electricity.Lord Deben pointed out that wind turbines now produced the cheapest electricity. (Image: Newsquest)

Weather events that seemed too extreme to worry about a few years ago were now happening regularly - this month properties in Debenham and Framlingham that had never been threatened before were inundated with flood water.

He warned that a knock-on effect would be that home and business owners would find their insurance bills going up.

Lord Deben said: "The way insurance companies work is by spreading the risks with other insurers around the world - if there was a disaster in one part of the world then the insurance would be covered by those in other parts where things were not so bad.

"What we've seen in recent years - and especially this summer - is serious weather events in different parts of the world at the same time."

He said this was bound to force insurance companies to push up costs: "And that will mean that the poorest people are the worst affected - that always happens in cases like this."

The dramatic weather patterns and the impact on homes and businesses over the last two years have shown conclusively that there is a desperate need to take climate change seriously.

Lord Deben added: "The only way to really combat this is to consume less and to ensure that the energy we use is sustainable.

"The fact is that the cheapest form of energy now is from wind turbines and solar - and yet the government lost the chance to build more offshore wind production by not paying enough for it.

"That means we will be using more gas which is more expensive and adds to greenhouse gases!"

Many of his warnings sounded worrying - but Lord Deben remains an optimist at heart.

"We do need to make changes and governments need to change - but it's not too late. We still have time to stop things from getting too much worse if we act now."