Although it is impossible to completely flood-proof a property, there are many things that a property owner can do to make their home or business more resilient and to reduce flood damage. They can consider installing property flood resilience measures, some of which are temporary, while others involve permanent structural work. Some measures involve making changes that allow flood water to enter the property, but minimising the damage it can do. This eases the clean-up phase and speeds up the drying out process. The take-up of Property Flood Resilience is still low in areas at significant risk of flooding and although the product market continues to develop, there are some areas which could be improved further.
The Environment Agency will be helping communities across England to be better protected against the impacts of flooding thanks to receiving almost £3 million of government investment. Following a competitive evaluation process, three projects across Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall and central England have been chosen to receive up to £700,000 each to boost research into, and uptake of, property-level measures which can better protect homes and businesses from flooding. The projects will be delivered with support from representatives of the insurance and construction industries. The Environment Agency will also monitor the projects to highlight successes and identify lessons that can be used to foster greater use of property flood resilience measures elsewhere across the country.
The funding will go towards new research initiatives, demonstration centres and advice portals which will help people to learn about the benefits of installing measures in their homes which can significantly reduce the potential impacts of flooding. The remaining money will be used to fund further research, support project delivery and evaluation as well as initiatives to share the findings and lessons learned from the three projects across the rest of the country.
The Oxford-Cambridge Pathfinder, led by Northamptonshire County Council, will be centred on the delivery of one million high-quality homes across a wide area, including neighbouring counties, by 2050. Ten communities will be identified to engage with the project, ensuring resources to promote and install property flood resilience are prioritised in the areas most vulnerable to the impacts of flooding.
The Yorkshire Future Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, delivered by City of York Council, will work with communities, planning and construction professionals, the construction industry and the insurance sector. This initiative will encourage greater uptake of property flood resilience measures across the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee area. It will establish a community hub and learning lab, working with existing projects and initiatives in the area, and provide staff to deliver a large scale training programme.
The South West Partnership project, led by Cornwall County Council, will focus on local innovation to enhance the future take-up of property flood resilience measures. As well as establishing a demonstration hub and web portal it will seek to simplify and streamline processes, increasing the flood resilience of communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
By Josie Bateman, Environment Agency
Biography: Josie Bateman leads a team of engagement experts at the Environment Agency who help support local and national teams. The team works to engage with those affected by flooding and collaborates with those who help to reduce flooding. Josie is also the Property Flood Resilience lead for the Environment Agency.