Is Your Flood Plan In Place?
Winter 2013-2014 was the wettest winter for almost 250 years. Approximately 6,000 properties were flooded throughout the UK, that’s 1 in 6 properties suffering from flooding, more than 5 million people! Climate change will undoubtedly only cause these figures to increase.
Are you at risk?
Unfortunately, it may not always be obvious to property owners that their home is at risk of flooding. What many home owners may not realise is that properties don’t need to be close to a river, the sea or low lying ground to be vulnerable to flooding. Surface water, groundwater and overflowing sewers are increasingly the most common causes of flooding in the UK.
In November 2014 the Environment Agency launched a two week national flood action campaign which highlighted 3 important steps:
- Use the Environment Agency’s maps to find out if you are at risk of flooding;
- Sign up for free flood warnings in your area; and
- Prepare a personal flood plan.
The situation in Sussex in January 2015 has seen some very wet weather, nearly a month’s rainfall in only 8 days. Groundwater levels have risen significantly following this rain and are now higher than average and therefore the risk of groundwater flooding is high.
What about Insurance?
Naturally, a high risk of flooding will inevitably cause insurance companies to increase premiums for home insurance policies which include flood cover.
On 27 June 2013 the Environment Agency announced an agreement with the insurance industry to try and guarantee affordable insurance for home owners in high risk areas of flooding. This agreement is known as “Flood Re”.
The aim of Flood Re is to ensure that homeowners whose properties are at high risk can obtain affordable flood insurance with cover at a set price. However, whilst this sounds promising, it is proposed that certain categories of properties (for example, leasehold, small businesses, Band H properties) will be excluded from the scheme. The Environment Agency says that they are committed to implementing Flood Re by the summer of 2015 and thankfully at least there is some protection offered to many homeowners.
What to do?
The Environment Agency has now published new maps. Not only do they show areas affected by flooding as a result of rivers, the sea and reservoirs, but for the first time they now also show areas affected by surface water. You can check your area at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency
Don’t wait until flooding happens, think ahead and prepare a flood plan. What would you do if flooding occurs where you live? By preparing a flood plan you can help both yourself and your community to decide what practical actions to take both before and during a flood which will help reduce the damage.
What we do
At Bennett Griffin, we will always check the flooding position on every transaction, in fact flood risk is largely featured in our usual searches so that we can always alert buyers immediately should the property they wish to purchase be located in an area prone to flooding and/or may have difficulty obtaining insurance on standard terms due to any flood risk.
The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation