Are you at risk of flooding? Six out of 10 households have never checked

Despite rising floods in the UK, a new survey reveals that 63% of homeowners have never checked their flood risk level.  Sudden floods in Sheffield have highlighted the risk for homeowners, even if their home is not bordering a stream or river.

The data comes from a new  YouGov survey, commissioned by property data company Landmark Information Group.

Have you checked your home’s flood risk?

While 62% overall have failed to check flood risks for their home, in many areas of the UK, this percentage was higher.  77% of homeowners in Scotland had not done any research, closely followed by 71% of Londoners, 65% in the North West and 63% in Yorkshire and Humber, a number that is particularly concerning given the widespread flooding of recent weeke.s

These figures were revealed only days after more than 100 flood alerts were issued – predominantly in Yorkshire – by the Environment Agency, following a deluge of a month’s worth of rain in just a matter of hours across the country – and today, with more rain predicted, we still have 5 flood warnings and 52 alerts.  For unprepared homeowners, this Winter could be challenging, never mind worsening flood risk as climate change continues to bite.

Can I check if my property is in a flood risk area?

The simplest way for England’s residents is to visit the government website for properties at long term flood risk and enter the postcode of the area where you are living or hoping to relocate to.

Areas are graded for flood risk, from ‘high’ to ‘very low’, usually depending on their proximity to rivers and the previous history of flooding in the area.   However, flood maps can change from time to time so it is good to get information from other sources, so ask your solicitor and estate agents about the history of flooding in the area.

For Welsh residents, you can search the maps at Natural Resources Wales.

Have a flood plan so you know what to do

Do you have an idea of what to do should your home become flooded?

It is worrying to note that survey data indicates only 6% of respondents actually have a formal flood plan in place.  While 49% felt they would know what to do should a flood occur, more than a third of householders (35%) said they would not know what to do should their home become flooded.

The survey identifies that the public is not making flood checks part of the research they conduct when moving into a new home; just 23% of respondents said they checked the flood risk of their home before moving in, with 12% saying they checked afterwards.

Researchers identified that there is some confusion over who should protect a home against flooding. Respondents considered a range of organisations that they believe have a responsibility to protect homes against flooding including the Local Council (62%), the Environment Agency (60%), and Homeowners (if living in the home) (54%). Landlords (if renting the home) (43%), the Government (37%) and tenants (21%) were also cited as being responsible for protecting a home against flooding, with 8% not being sure where responsibility falls.

However, if the worst DOES happen, getting back on your feet can be harder than you realise.  Some homeowners have found themselves uninsured despite paying for insurance because their homes were on a flood plain, although some assistance may be available from hardship funds.  Whatever happens, it is easier to know about the risk in advance so you can be prepared.

The Citizens Advice Bureau offer this helpful advice for tenants whose homes become flooded: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/problems-where-you-live/rented-home-flooding-overview/.  They also offer advice for the steps to take when returning to your home after a flood has occured: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/housing/flooding/flooding/going-home-after-a-flood-s/

Chris Loaring, Managing Director, Landmark Legal and Argyll Environmental said,

“The results of the survey show a worrying disconnect. The majority of people – 88% – believe their property is not located in an area considered ‘at risk’ of flooding, yet 62% have never checked whether this is the case or not. According to the Environment Agency, over five million properties are at risk of flooding – of which 2.4 million properties are at risk from the sea or rivers, and a larger share of 2.8 million properties are at risk of surface water flooding, which isn’t always visibly apparent.

“With data suggesting that we will witness drier summers and wetter winters in the future, I think it’s important that people are more aware of any environmental risk that may affect where they live or work. For example, when buying a new property, it’s a good idea to ask your conveyancing professional for information on risks of this nature. In doing so, we can be better prepared, understand where responsibility lies from a protection point of view, and also make sure we know what resilience and recovery steps can be taken should a flood event happen.”

Mary Dhonau OBE from the Know Your Flood Risk campaign says,

“Being flooded is the most appalling experience; to have your home annihilated by filthy water is truly devastating. It is something that can take years to recover from. We have seen the misery being flooded has caused many people already this autumn, therefore knowing your flood risk allows you to plan in advance and take moves to reduce the risk to your home.”

Ultimately, those with a plan in place are more likely to be resilient.

Mary Dhonau has produced an extensive Property Flood Resilience e-Book, which contains many case studies that focus on the steps people have taken to make their properties resilient to future flooding. This is available to download for free here: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/pro…

If recent weeks are to be believed, failing to prepare for climate disaster is no longer an option – and preparation, it seems, starts at home.

Image source: Mirror

 

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