Property owners’ flood resilience “stubbornly low” – Flood Re

Campaign launched with Environment Agency to address gap

Property owners’ flood resilience “stubbornly low” – Flood Re

Catastrophe & Flood

By Terry Gangcuangco

Despite the growing flood risk in the UK, 27% of homeowners do not think they will ever be flooded, according to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Opinium on behalf of Flood Re this month.

Calling the level of flood awareness and resilience “stubbornly low,” Flood Re has launched a campaign in partnership with the Environment Agency. The goal of the Be Flood Smart campaign is to encourage householders to implement PFR (property flood resilience) measures.

Working alongside traditional engineered defences and natural flood management, PFR is a way of managing the effects of flooding from rivers, the sea, and surface water.

“PFR is just one part of the solution: new homes need to be built with adaptation in mind, and we must also continue to appropriate investment into maintenance of our flood defences to ensure they are fit for purpose,” Flood Re chief executive Andy Bord said in an emailed release.

“More frequent and more damaging flooding is one of the ways the climate crisis is having a very real impact on households across the UK. We need to take urgent action to adapt to a warmer and wetter planet and reduce that risk.

“There are simple and cost-effective steps homeowners can take to protect their homes and the things they love from floods – and we want to inspire more people to do just that. That’s why we are partnering with the Environment Agency to deliver Be Flood Smart.”

Flood resilience push

According to Bord, it’s all about raising awareness of the benefits of adapting people’s own homes. PFR measures include raising electrical sockets and white goods away from floor level, installing self-closing air bricks and flood-resistant doors, and replacing flooring with waterproof tiling and grout.

At Oxfordshire’s HR Wallingford stands the new BeFloodReady Property Flood Resilience Centre, which will play an important role in the coordinated push towards resilience.

“The new BeFloodReady PFR Centre is a legacy from Defra’s PFR Pathfinder project and will provide a dedicated demonstration property to not only showcase PFR measures in use, but where industry-wide training will be provided on the specification, installation, and maintenance of PFR, helping ensure the workforce is prepared for rising flood risk,” Alan Ryan (programme manager, Ox-Cam PFR Pathfinder and West Northamptonshire Council) said.

“This is the first centre of its kind, and we are delighted to bring together key stakeholders from across the flood risk management community, including CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) and the National Flood School, to put property-level flood resilience in the spotlight.”

The Be Flood Smart campaign is being introduced at the centre today.

“We have committed through our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy to work closely with partners to help make PFR a mainstream approach,” Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said. “This will have the benefit of reducing the risk of flood damage to individual properties and helping people move back into their properties quicker after flooding.

“With climate change making extreme weather events increasingly likely, it’s essential that we all work towards making properties and communities more flood- and climate-resilient. The joint campaign with Flood Re and the Environment Agency will show property owners that flood resilience measures can be built into their home in a cost-effective way.”

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