Despite warnings issued almost daily from the Met Office, people in Great Britain are still not checking the flood risk of their homes.
According to the results of a new YouGov survey, 62% of respondents stated that they have never checked the flood risk level of their home.
People in Scotland are the least likely to have carried out any checks with 77% confirming they had never researched their flood risk. This was followed by those in London (71%), 65% of those in the North West of England and 63% in Yorkshire and Humber. These figures are revealed only a short time after more than 100 flood alerts were issued – predominantly in Yorkshire – by the Environment Agency, following a deluge of a month’s worth of rain in just a matter of hours across the country.
The survey also found that just 6% of people have a flood plan and would know how to put it into action if a flood was to occur. More than a third (35%) admitted that they do not have a flood plan and wouldn’t know what to do if they were to experience a flood, while almost half (49%) said they didn’t have a flood plan, yet felt they would know what to do in the event of a flood.
The survey identifies that the public is not making flood checks part of the research they conduct when moving into a new home; just 23% of respondents said they checked the flood risk of their home before moving in, with 12% saying they checked afterwards.
People from Wales are the most diligent with 26% saying they looked into the risk ahead of moving, and a further 20% said they researched the risk after moving into their home.
If we look at specific regions in England, people in the East of England are then most diligent with 28% suggesting they looked into the risk ahead of moving and a further 17% did so after they had moved into their home. This compares to just 14% of those living in London who said they checked ahead of moving into their home.
The research went on to identify that there is confusion over who is responsible for protecting a home against flooding. Respondents considered a range of organisations that they believe have a responsibility to protect homes against flooding including the Local Council (62%), the Environment Agency (60%), and Homeowners (if living in the home) (54%). Landlords (if renting the home) (43%), the Government (37%) and tenants (21%) were also cited as being responsible for protecting a home against flooding, with 8% not being sure where responsibility falls.
Chris Loaring, Managing Director, Landmark Legal and Argyll Environmental said: “The results of the survey show a worrying disconnect. The majority of people – 88% – believe their property is not located in an area considered ‘at risk’ of flooding, yet 62% have never checked whether this is the case or not. According to the Environment Agency, over five million properties are at risk of flooding – of which 2.4 million properties are at risk from the sea or rivers, and a larger share of 2.8 million properties are at risk of surface water flooding, which isn’t always visibly apparent.
With data suggesting that we will witness drier summers and wetter winters in the future, I think it’s important that people are more aware of any environmental risk that may affect where they live or work. For example, when buying a new property, it’s a good idea to ask your conveyancing professional for information on risks of this nature. In doing so, we can be better prepared, understand where responsibility lies from a protection point of view, and also make sure we know what resilience and recovery steps can be taken should a flood event happen.”
Mary Dhonau OBE from the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, added: “Being flooded is the most appalling experience; to have your home annihilated by filthy water is truly devastating. It is something that can take years to recover from. We have seen the misery being flooded has caused many people already this autumn, therefore knowing your flood risk allows you to plan in advance and take moves to reduce the risk to your home."