Sunday, 31 January 2016

What Can We Do To Stop Our Homes Flooding

The weather in the UK in the last few months has been wet, windy and depressing. It feels like we have have had constant rain since November and I can barely remember the last sunny day. As Storm Gertrude batters Wales, with roads closed and winds of up to 80 miles per hour many householders are again worried about weather and flood damage. It only seems like yesterday that Storm Abigail caused chaos to those in the North of England and just before Christmas too.

Seeing the devastation the floods have caused, has made many people try to apportion blame and question things. Could the government do more to help? Is climate change to blame? How can home owners take action to prevent their homes become flooded in the future?

Copyright: gemphoto Shutterstock

Government Help

David Cameron has called for more to happen to prevent future flooding and some people may say this is too little too late, but I feel as least something is finally happening. I wonder though where the councils will find money for improved flood defences, as it has to come from somewhere. Will it come from education, or the NHS, is a question that has to be asked, and if so will party of these services become neglected? 

As well as investing in engineered flood defences I hope the  government will be forward thinking and invest in natural flood defences too.  Investing in wilder landscapes and natural flood defences in urban and country areas can go a long way to prevent flooding.  Habitats such as upland bogs and moors, woodlands, wetlands and species-rich grasslands act as giant sponges, absorbing and holding water and slowing down water runs into rivers. Planting trees can also help defend against flooding. I hope this natural way of help preventing floods will be the way forward in the future.

Climate Change

According to the World Wildlife Fund, major floods that used to happen only once in 100 years now take place every 10 or 20 years. Weather patterns that people were used to for hundreds and thousands of years are changing gradually – and it is unlikely they will return to normal.  Whilst scientists research whether or not we can really reverse climate change, homeowners need to come to terms with the fact that this may not happen in their lifetime. It's not something that the average person can have any control over and that can give you a feeling of helplessness.

Home Owner Action

Flooding can cause real devastation

Copyright: SpeedKingz Shutterstock

Well all is said and done there are some things that home owners can do to help themselves in this situation and take some control. Firstly when buying or renting a home, do some research to see if the prospective house is in a flood plain area. The environment agency provides an online postcode search for England and Wales, enabling people to find out if the area they live in is at risk of flooding. If you do move into a home in this type of area be sure to take out insurance and check what it covers if you are flooded. 

Recently a survey by Simpson and Millar  asked 500 people what they thought of the recent flooding and examined the human impact. Whilst 62% of people thought that the damage seen could not have been avoided, 74% thought that the government could have done more to help.

Lisa Gibbs, partner and head of Conveyancing offers some good advice.

"  When you purchase a new house, searches are undertaken which include an environmental search report which will report on historical flooding in the area. It's important that all buyers ensure that they instruct their solicitors to carry out these searches; the cost is relatively low in comparison with the potential risk".

Buying property is an expensive business, and is makes sense that before buying a property the prospective homeowner assesses the potential flood risk. This may have implications on insurance and may even be a contributing factor in not buying the property at all.

If you do unfortunately own or rent property that is at risk of flooding, you can take precautions to minimise the risk. The Home Owners Alliance suggest measures such as moving electrical sockets higher so they are less likely to be damaged by low level flooding, replacing wooden floors and carpets with concrete with a damp proof membrane and laying ceramic tiles, and raising household appliances and entertainment systems well above flood level. 

In conclusion, I hope these pointers have helped you consider the risk of buying or renting a home in a potential flood plain and I sincerely hope that it doesn't happen to you or people you know.

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  1. Great post- something that needed to be said. I completely agree and think a lot more education is needed on buying homes to avoid the risk of flooding. It's such a devastating thing, and thankfully up here in the Rhondda Valleys it's a rarity! X

    1. I live by the sea but thankfully I live in a flat in an area that doesn't flood.

  2. A great post, it really makes you think how lucky we are when you here about all these floods. Luckily we have just had the wind.

  3. There is still so much more to learn about flooding and moving near a floodplain I think and it isn't always those who live closest to a river x

  4. Gosh, it must be so traumatic having your home flooded I can't even imagine. It must be heartbreaking to find a home you fall in love with and then find that it is in a flood area, I don't think I could go ahead with the purchase. Useful post, thank you.

  5. I think we are fairly lucky that where we live is on high ground and although we have a stream close by I have never known it break its banks

  6. this is really useful. I hope to never need the advice though. Flooding is truly awful. my parents live in York and had some troubles over Christmas with the flooding up there x

  7. It is so scary, I have thnakfully not lived in an area that got flooded but my sister did when she was pregnant x

  8. I agree that more than ever the postcode checks that people can do before buying a property are so important. Insurances do not pay so often when properties are known to be in a flood risk area which must add to the heartache. I do feel for the people whose homes were destroyed on Boxing Day.

    1. It's a simple check that is very useful, I think.

  9. Great post considering the horrendous rains we keep getting the past three months. Am really hoping February picks up and proper flood defences can be put in place to prevent a repeat.

  10. We're very lucky to live in a top floor flat but I feel so sorry for everyone who has lost posessions due to this awful weather.

  11. I was chatting to my Dad about this over Christmas and he said things like the driveways we choose all affect the lack of opportunity for heavy rainfall to drainaway naturally - which makes perfect sense. I was in York over Christmas so was painfully aware of the damage the floodwater was doing to my home city.

  12. It would also help if house builders would stop building homes on flood plains. It's completely unacceptable and its about time it was put to a stop x


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