The Environment Agency has launched a long-term strategy and has called for a new approach to ensure communities are resilient to the threat of flooding posed by climate change.
The Agency has begun consulting on the national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England. Its chair Emma Howard Boyd has said that "we cannot win a war against water" by building higher flood defences and has called for a new approach to ensure communities are resilient to the threat of flooding posed by climate change. The strategy says more should be done to help home owners recover from flooding, including encouraging home improvements to make dwellings more resilient.
Currently, over five million homes in England are at risk of flooding or coastal erosion. For every person who suffers flooding, around 16 more are affected by loss of services such as power, transport and telecommunications. These numbers are set to rise as population growth means that twice as many properties will be built on flood plain over next 50 years.
When buying a new property, be alive to the risk of flooding in the local area. Before you exchange contracts you should ensure you know whether the property is at risk of flooding or has been flooded in the past. Your conveyancing lawyer can carry out searches to provide you with this information.
If you are at risk of flooding, obtain an insurance quote and make sure you are covered for flood risk. Understand the conditions of the policy, the premium and any excess.
If your property is in a flood risk area there are lots of things you can do to reduce flood damage including fitting flood doors, using hard flooring, raised electrics and fitting non-return valves on drains and pipes.
If your property is damaged by floods, the Agency will be encouraging property owners to "build back better" in order the make properties more resilient going forward.
Looking forward, the Agency's strategy proposals concentrate on ensuring that communities have access to a range of tools which give them control of how they prepare for and respond to flooding and coastal change, based on the challenges or flood risk that each particular location may face.