It’s not too late to prepare for floods

As we approach the anniversary of Storms Desmond and Eva that caused so much damage and distress last winter, people and businesses continue to suffer the effects of the flooding.  Many are still out of their homes and looking to adapt their properties to be more resilient to any further flooding.

Defra has just announced awards for innovations in flood modelling that are helping to develop new approaches for reducing flood risk in the River Eden catchment, one of the areas that suffered flooding in recent years.

This means it is also a good time to reflect on opportunities to strengthen resilience against flooding, with further storms and floods always a possibility as winter approaches.

Working in partnership with the Zurich Insurance Group, JBA Trust released a report in August detailing first hand experiences of flooding in Cumbria following the Storm Desmond in December.  At the time, we found evidence of a slow take-up of the Government’s £5,000 Flood Resilience Grants, established specifically for property owners to help with preparations to improve property protection and flood resilience.

Our report also showed how communication and awareness are key to managing flood risk.

So it is important to highlight that many local authorities have recently agreed an extension to their Flood Resilience Grant deadlines – with applications now open until March 2017. The National Flood Forum has further detailed guidance on improving flood protection to a property.  The administration and timetable for grants can vary locally, so it is also important to check the details with the local authority when considering any specific property.

Our own analysis, and other reviews, have emphasised the importance of obtaining impartial, professional assessments of the local food risk, independently of manufacturers’ guidance on flood protection products.  This assessment is needed to help ensure that all local flood mitigation options are identified that are appropriate for the property, person and nature of flood risk.

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