A new, independent action plan report launched in the UK aims to help people protect their homes and businesses from the risk of flooding and recover more quickly if the worst happens.
The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan explores the role of building regulations and certification, in encouraging use of flood resistant construction methods and how rigorous independent standards can provide confidence in flood products across the industry.
It also looks at how insurers can further increase their support for property owners installing flood resistant measures, particularly at the repair stage with advice targeted at home owners, business owners and third parties such as insurers.
As part of the plan a one stop shop advice web portal, www.centre4resilience.org, has been established to make it easier for people to find the most relevant information on better protecting their properties against flooding.
The advice includes precautionary actions to take to better protect property from flooding, actions to take if a property is in imminent danger from flooding, live flood warnings, recent case studies and research.
At the same time the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced a new consumer guide to resilient flood repair which insurers are helping to circulate and the Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG), part of Business in the Community, has set up flood advisory services in three local authorities hit by flooding last winter.
Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “The impact of flooding on people’s lives is not just financial, it can be emotionally devastating. This new action plan brings business and government together so it will be easier for people to take action to better protect themselves and their properties.
“Our unprecedented £2.5bn investment in flood defences will better protect 300,000 properties from floods by 2021. But property level measures are key to ensuring those who are unfortunate enough to suffer flooding can get back in their homes and businesses sooner and minimise the impact,’ she added.
According to Peter Bonfield, chairman of the action plan, it will help to give people and businesses the means to reduce the chances of their lives and livelihoods being disrupted by flooding.
‘This is about both stopping the floodwaters getting in, and speeding recovery when it does. The action plan goes hand in hand with other recent announcements, like the broader National Flood Resilience Review. Both help ensure the country is better prepared for future flood events,’ he added.
Director general of the Association of British Insurers, Huw Evans, said it will continue to work with the government, the Environment Agency and others to encourage more people to flood proof their homes and businesses so that if it does happen they can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
He said: “‘Being flooded is horribly traumatic, not only because of the immediate devastation, but because drying out and repairing badly affected properties can take so long. In the wake of last winter’s floods insurers offered those affected practical help in applying for government grants and arranging for resilient repair works.”
The report highlights the need for a mixture of measures to help improve risk, resilience and action, according to Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency.”‘No one body or organisation can reduce risk entirely, and people need to be aware of the risk they are facing, sign up for warnings and take steps to protect themselves,” she said.
“We know there are challenges as to why these measures have not been taken up but working with members of the insurance industry and our partners, we want to empower people to take up measures that can help them address the impact that flooding has on their lives and livelihoods,” she added.
The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan was a collaboration between central government, the Environment Agency, insurers, surveyors, materials producers, the legal profession and flood action groups.
It covers assistance for flood victims, small businesses, building standards and certification, and better communication to change behaviour. In all these areas, the report looked to highlight barriers and long-term solutions to better prepare the UK for flooding.