Raising awareness of Property Flood Resilience in Yorkshire

We chat to Emily Howes and Lauren Davidson, Project Officers for Yorkshire Flood Resilience, one of three national Pathfinders being led by the Environment Agency. Together with JBA Consulting, the Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) and the Living with Water Programme, the Yorkshire Pathfinder project aims to raise awareness of the benefits of Property Flood Resilience (PFR) and encourage positive behavioural change to support its uptake.

Tell us about the project

We started our roles in January 2020 and the project will conclude in September 2021. We aim to empower communities to take proactive steps to reduce the risk of flood damage to their own properties. We’ve created a project website which hosts a range of online resources, including awareness articles, videos and blogs, downloads, animations and online training. We’re connecting with communities via public presentations and demonstrations and co-developing a community demonstration hub at Wilberforce College in Hull. We’re trying to reach a wide range of stakeholders, including residents and businesses, the property sector and trades, financial influencers and local authorities.

Are there any misconceptions around PFR that you’re looking to address through the project?

We’ve encountered some concerns about the impact of PFR on the appearance of homes and, consequently, their value. Every solution is bespoke to the property. Many of the measures on a property’s exterior are removable and interior adaptations can be incorporated into the design of a home. Once PFR has been installed, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that it is maintained and put into place in the event of a flood.
Some people may be put off by the cost, but it’s important to remember that the cost of repairing your home following flood damage could be considerably more, especially in areas at risk of repeated flooding. PFR is, therefore, a long-term investment, and more and more homeowners are recognising the importance of understanding their flood risk and installing these key measures.

Installing Property Flood Resilience can help to bring peace of mind, whilst also reducing the financial impact of flooding.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency (EA) has praised the pathfinder projects for helping to boost the uptake of property-level resilience measures in homes and businesses across the country,” which is one of the core themes of the EA’s FCERM Strategy. How are you/will you be working together through the project?

All three Pathfinder projects are in close contact and, although we each have slightly different approaches to encouraging take-up of PFR measures, we’re sharing best practice and hoping to put what we’ve learnt individually into some joint projects aimed at raising greater awareness of property flood resilience in other areas of the country during the coming months. We’ve each developed innovative ways of working with our local communities. These include demonstration sites, flood hubs, and online learning with real life case studies, which are soon to be launched.

It’s important that everyone understands their flood risk and how they can prepare and become more resilient.

What are some of the key messages you’ll be promoting?

We’re keen to encourage people to take action to reduce the risk of flood damage to their property. Installing Property Flood Resilience can help to bring peace of mind, whilst also reducing the financial impact of flooding. It’s important to understand the flood risk to your property; so be prepared and act now.

Property flood resilience reduces the damage that floodwater causes to your property and can therefore help to minimise the need for costly flood repairs, saving you money and enabling you to return to your property quicker after flooding. It can also reduce the need to make insurance claims if your property floods. As flood risk is predicted to increase in the future due to climate change, nobody should assume that flooding won’t happen to them. Therefore, it’s important that everyone understands their flood risk and how they can prepare and become more resilient, whether that’s through making a flood plan, considering having property flood resilience installed or making sure that the measures you have are maintained.

How do you hope the outcomes of the project will inform future PFR work?

The learning from our project will inform research into effective strategies to raise awareness of property flood resilience and flood risk. Our work is being used to inform academic studies, as well as educational courses about flood risk management. Through our educational work, we hope to inspire a flood-resilient future generation. We hope that, through engaging with Yorkshire Flood Resilience, more people in Yorkshire will be inspired to make their homes resilient to flooding.

Finally, how can people get involved?

You can find out more about our project and stay up to date with the latest information about flood resilience and flood risk management by visiting our website at www.yorkshirefloodresilience.co.uk. You can also access our wide range of online resources on the website. Follow us on social media for the latest project developments and news from the flood risk industry.

Find us on:
Twitter: @YorkshirePFR
Facebook: Yorkshire Flood Resilience
LinkedIn: Yorkshire Flood Resilience

Emily Howes, Project Officer, Yorkshire Flood Resilience
Emily Howes
Lauren Davidson, Project Officer, Yorkshire Flood Resilience
Lauren Davidson

Flood Action Campaign 2020

This year, the Environment Agency’s annual Flood Action Campaign, which runs from October through to March, is targeting people who live in areas at high risk of flooding but have not yet experienced flooding to their home. This is a priority for any year, but particularly now as COVID-19 restrictions will exacerbate the challenge of recovery from flooding this winter. The campaign encourages people to prepare for flooding, using and downloading the ‘Prepare. Act. Survive.’ flood plan to help reduce these risks.  

There are 5.2 million homes and businesses in England at risk of flooding. Don’t assume it’s not you.

Whether you live on a hill, in a flat or in an area that’s never flooded before, flooding can still affect you, putting your home, your possessions and your family at risk. In England there are over 5 million properties at risk of flooding, but most people assume it’ll never happen to them. According
to recent polling, only a third of people in areas at risk of flooding believe that their home could be at risk.

And with climate change already causing more frequent, intense flooding and sea level rise, we all need to know what to do, should the worst happen.

Knowing what to do in a flood could save your life.

According to the Environment Agency, the average cost of flooding to a home is around £30,000. Flooding also brings a significant risk to life. The mental health impacts of flooding can last for 2 years or more after flooding has happened. Depression, anxiety and PTSD can affect up to a third
of people who have been flooded.

But, crucially, taking steps to prepare for flooding, and knowing what to do in a flood can significantly reduce the damages to a home and possessions (by around 40%), reduce risk to life, and reduce the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future.

Know how to Prepare. Act. Survive.

The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to prepare for flooding. Knowing what to do in a flood could help keep you and your family safe, and save you thousands of pounds in damages and disruption.

Would you know what to do in a flood? Visit flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/what-to-do-in-a-flood

For more information and to find out if you are at risk visit the what to do in a flood page on GOV.UK to get prepared.

Caroline Douglass, Director of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said, “Flooding can cause serious disruption to people’s lives. We can’t prevent it, but we can help homeowners to be more flood resilient. Those who are aware of the risk and have done something about it are
able to reduce damage to their homes and possessions considerably.”

Flood Action Week starts next week from 9 to 15 November.

Notes
The Environment Agency is using bitly links (https://bit.ly/2EytseV) to track visits to their campaign materials. Please use the links from this article to maintain tracking capabilities.
Twitter: @envagency
Facebook: facebook.com/environmentagency
Instagram: @EnvAgency

Recovering from the autumn floods: the power of community spirit

Increasing community resilience to the impact of flooding and severe weather emergencies has never been more pertinent. Across the country, communities have been battling the devastating effects of one of the wettest autumns on record. The Environment Agency has been working tirelessly to safeguard and support affected communities, working alongside members of these communities to promote a joined-up response effort. Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, describes being “hugely moved by the community spirit and generosity” at her recent visit to the South Yorkshire village of Fishlake, writing about her experience on the Environment Agency’s blog.

Community volunteer groups not only play a vital role in preparing for, and responding to emergencies, but are also instrumental in the recovery process, continuing to assist with longer-term clear-up efforts and helping to rebuild morale and restore a sense of normality.

Creating active and empowered communities

Ensuring these groups feel confident in leading their community to recovery is a key focus of Communities Prepared. Our training and resources support Community Emergency Volunteer (CEV) coordinators and their members to plan for and implement longer-term resilience measures.   

Become a member of Communities Prepared today and access our full range of free training resources and tools. It’s free to sign up!

We’ve been busy exhibiting, running workshops and presenting at some great regional and national events. You may have seen us at the following:

  • Somerset Prepared Community Resilience Day
  • Wiltshire Prepared Flood Warden meeting
  • Cornwall Community Flood Forum’s annual conference
  • BCI World Conference & Exhibition with Business in the Community
  • Good Things Foundation: Joining Forces
  • ACRE 2019 Autumn Conference

Are you running or attending an event that you think would tie in with our programme? We’d love to hear about it! Get in touch.

“We’re quite good at writing plans but we’re not so good at what you do afterwards. I think that was particularly helpful – understanding the follow-through needed to make sure people are supported in getting back to a working state as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Helen Deas Williams, Brixton Parish Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Find out how Brixton CERT developed their resilience to flooding. Read their story here.

The power of 3 words

How can three random words be used to support a more efficient multi-agency emergency response? what3words’ Geordie Palmer discusses.

What the flood

The Environment Agency recently launched its winter Flood Action Campaign which focuses on winter preparation and helping people to know what action to take in a flood. 

Coming up

Developing the UK’s Flood Resilience Forum, 5th December 2019, brings together leading voices to discuss key topics relating to flood resilience.

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