How Floods Are Affecting The UK In 2019

UK Flooding in 2019
With climate change and global warming at the forefront of the news recently, it’s no wonder that port and river towns such as Ipswich and Hull are preparing additional flood defence measures to protect their infrastructure.

A £67million tidal surge barrier has just been opened by Floods Minister Therese Coffey in Ipswich, with plans also recently announced for £42million of defences to be built in Hull.

Increasing Risk

As a result of the shifts in weather patterns, more and more businesses and residents of ‘at-risk’ areas, are taking matters into their own hands, and ensuring their homes and premises are protected against the risk of storms and associated flooding.

Of course, any preparation costs money but as the risks increase the cost is soon outweighed by the potential loss and even the potential rise in insurance premiums which can sometimes be mitigated when using flood prevention steps.

Flood Mitigation Methods

Whilst it’s impossible to be 100% fully protected from extreme weather conditions, there are a number of methods available to the savvy landowner, architect, property developer, or planning consultant.

It is certainly worth considering that protecting from flood waters is obviously the only solution if the building is already in place. But proper flood risk planning prior to choosing a site is the best way to prevent any issues.

That being said as storms get more frequent and sea levels rise places that were once safe may become ‘at-risk’ areas in the future.

Concrete Flooring

Opting for concrete flooring rather than any kind of wood for any ground floor area is a great way to reduce the damage of flood water. While the carpeting may be damaged the concrete itself will withstand the flood and can be cleaned and resurfaced easily.

Power Sockets

Simple considerations like moving power sockets above floor level can help avoid added cost and damage if a flood does occur.

Heating Ducts

Blocking up and removing any old heating ducts at floor level can also stop further water ingress through these should be planned and done carefully in case the air flow is critical for damp protection.

Building Materials

Replacing building materials like MDF with less water sensitive options can make a big difference. MDF can absorb water but other choices may mean the different between a total refit after a flood and just a renovation.

Flood Boards

Flood boards and flood doors are often quite simple options and can help a great deal. Flood boards can be fitted to existing doorways and simply put down if the water level rises. Flood-proof doors look exactly like normal doors but are water tight preventing any water from getting into the property that way.

Sand bags to prevent flooding

Water Gardens

Externally there are some interesting options like creating a water garden. While this may look lovely and sound rather ineffectual these gardens are designed to temporarily hold large amounts of water to then allow it to dissipate naturally and preventing a flood.

Drainage

Choosing paving and driveway surfaces that naturally drain is also very important. Some buildings can even have drainage channels dug around them to allow the water to flow out into a grassed areas where it can soak away.

Because of the nature of a lot of this work it’s vital to engage a professional business who specialise in carrying out flood-risk protection work. It is also important to get flood risk assessments and drainage assessments which will suggest a range of mitigation options both inside and out.

Reducing Insurance Premiums

Insurance cover for flooding is a complex issue that is changing all the time. Certain companies are charging considerably more for homes and businesses in an area that has been flooded recently, others are charging more based on potential flooding.

It is clear that some companies do offer better premiums if flood mitigation methods can be added to the properly.

Each company will be unique so before looking at installing and flood protection it is worth shopping around to find out what solutions you can opt for and how much you may save.

Whilst the insurance would certainly cover the first flood if it is likely to happen again the premiums will be high and some companies simply wont offer cover. By working with the insurers and choosing flood mitigation options they endorse it may be possible to avoid a major premium hike.

Storms This Year

There have already been a number of storms over the UK and the European mainland in 2019, with significant rainfall over parts of England and Wales over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, possibly on the back-end of Storm Gareth.

This was a storm which had raged over Ireland just a few days before, experiencing such a sudden drop in pressure that it was referred to as a “weather bomb”, also known as “explosive cyclogenesis”, instigating a much more violent storm than originally anticipated.

This rainfall brought many towns around the Severn, Ribble, and Conwy rivers to a complete standstill, and flooded at least 40 properties in Parc y Eryr in Llanrwst, with 136.6mm of precipitation recorded in a 24-hour period.

The River Conwy even reached its highest recorded level in recent years; a staggering 8.25m; after an increase of 3 metres over the course of just two days. Over 100 flood alerts and flood warnings were issued in the local areas around Wales, the Midlands, and parts of Northern England over the weekend, with at least 50 still in place on the Monday.

Additional Investment Needed

Following the need for action on climate change, The Environment Agency published a report earlier this year, outlining a 50-year strategy for building and maintaining flood defence systems around the country, estimating an average £1million of investment would be needed every year until 2065.

Flood and coastal erosion risk management projects taking place between 2015 and 2021 are already costing the agency £2.6 billion, but will help to protect around 300,000 homes and businesses.

The Met Office and The National Flood Forum both offer advice on what to do in case of a flood, and how to protect your home from future flooding.

Flood damage can be extreme and result in expensive and lengthy repairs to your home, so it’s advised to be well-prepared for the risk.

It’s best advised to put resistance measures in place to prevent damage before it occurs, rather than having to resolve issues later after the devastation has already happened.

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