Flood Re, the joint initiative between the UK government and the insurance industry, has launched the ‘Be Flood Smart’ campaign in partnership with the Environment Agency.
Studies show that homeowners face an average cost of £32,000 to repair flood damage as UK flood risk increases. 1 in 6 people in England are now at risk of flooding, but flood awareness and resilience among property owners remains low. Many downplayed their chances of being flooded with more than a quarter (27%) saying they didn’t think it would happen to them.
Simple home improvements make properties more durable, limiting repair costs by up to 73% according to data.
The campaign encourages householders to adapt their homes with Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures to better protect against the impact of future floods while also helping to speed up repairs, and helping those people can return to their properties more quickly after the flood.
These measures may include raising electrical sockets and white goods from floor level, installing self-closing air bricks and flood-resistant doors and replacing the floor with waterproof tiling and grout. .
Andy Bord, CEO, of Flood Re, commented, “More frequent and more damaging flooding is one of the ways the climate crisis is having a real impact on homes across the UK. We need to act urgently action to adapt to a warmer and wetter planet and reduce risk There are simple and cost-effective steps homeowners can take to protect their homes and the things they love from floods – and we want to encourage more people to do just that. That’s why we’re working with the Environment Agency to deliver Be Flood Smart.
“It’s all about raising awareness of the benefits and encouraging people to adapt their own homes, to make the UK more resilient to current and future flood events while providing vital peace of mind for those living at risk of flooding. The PFR is only one part of the solution: new homes must be built with adaptation in mind and we must also continue to invest appropriately in the maintenance of our flood defenses to ensure they are fit for purpose.
The campaign was launched at the new BeFloodReady PFR Center in Oxfordshire’s HR Wallingford. This center serves as a dedicated PFR demonstration facility where the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s (CIWEM) PFR Code of Practice training will be conducted, in conjunction with the National Flood School.
PFR serves as a means of managing the effects of flooding from rivers, seas and surface waters, and works alongside traditional engineered defenses and natural flood management. The National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy recognizes that more focus is needed to encourage property owners to rebuild better after floods. The campaign is part of a commitment in the FCERM Strategy Roadmap, published in June 2022, to help mainstream property flood resilience.
Alan Lovell, Chair of the Environment Agency, said, “Flooding can be devastating – especially when people’s homes and property are destroyed. We are committed through our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy to work closely with those together to help make PFR a mainstream approach.It has the benefit of reducing the flood risk of damage to individual properties and helping people return to their properties more quickly after a flood.
“With climate change making extreme weather events more likely, it’s important that we all work to make our properties and communities more flood and climate resilient. The joint campaign with Flood Re and the Environment Agency will demonstrate to property owners that flood resilience measures can be built into their home in an effective manner.
This launch comes a year after the introduction of Flood Re’s world-first Build Back Better scheme, designed to ensure homes are more resilient against future flooding. Currently, it is offered by 64% of the UK insurance market, customers of participating insurers can access reimbursement costs of up to £10,000 as part of a flood claim, above and beyond surface work to repair damage and loss. The funds will pay for the installation of PFR measures that will reduce the impact of future flooding and give homeowners significant peace of mind.
Alan Ryan, Program Manager, Ox-Cam PFR Pathfinder and West Northamptonshire Council, said, “Awareness and adoption of property flood resilience is increasing as people realize that options are available to make their The new BeFloodReady PFR Center is a legacy from Defra’s PFR Pathfinder project and will provide a dedicated demonstration property that will not only showcase PFR measures in use but where industry-wide training will be delivered. in detail, installation and maintenance of the PFR, which helps ensure that workers are prepared for increased flood risk.
“This is the first center of its kind and we are delighted to bring together key stakeholders from across the flood risk management community, including CIWEM and the National Flood School, to put the flood resilience level at the property level.”