Many UK householders still believe they will never experience a flood, survey finds

Flood Re has launched a new campaign to help householders better protect themselves against the impact of future flooding.

Be Flood Smart, which was launched in partnership with the Environment Agency (EA) today (22 May 2023), encourages householders to adapt their homes with property flood resilience (PFR) measures.

These aim to reduce the risk and cost of damage to homes, as well as speed up recovery and restoration time, in the event of a flood.

Flood Re’s chief executive Andy Bord stated that “more frequent and more damaging flooding is one of the ways the climate crisis is having a very real impact on households across the UK”.

And from a survey of 2,000 people in May 2023, Flood Re found one in six were now at risk of flooding.

However, the survey also found 27% do not believe they will ever fall victim to a flood event.

“We need to take urgent action to adapt to a warmer and wetter planet to reduce that risk,” he said.

“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 inspire more people to do just that.”

Increasing resilience

This came after Flood Re discovered there was a “real lack” of consumer awareness around PFR earlier this month (May 2023).

It claimed PFR limited the cost of repair work by as much as 73% for properties after a major flood.  

However, Bord further noted that PFR is “just one part of the solution”.

“New homes need to be built with adaption in mind and we must also continue appropriate investment into maintenance of our flood defences to ensure they are fit for purpose”, he said.

The campaign was launched at the new BeFloodReady Centre – a PFR demonstration facility – at HR Wallingford in Oxfordshire.

The centre is also where the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s (CIWEM) PFR code of practice training and the National Flood School will now be held.

Alan Ryan, programme manager at Ox-Cam PFR pathfinder and West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The new BeFloodReady PFR Centre is a legacy from Defra’s PFR pathfinder project and will provide a dedicated demonstration property to not only showcase PFR measures in use, but where industry-wide training will be provided on the specification, installation and maintenance of PFR, helping ensure the workforce is prepared for rising flood risk.”

The launch of the campaign came around one year after Flood Re launched its Build Back Better Scheme in April 2022 – the scheme is now offered by 64% of the UK insurance market.

It also ties in with the EA’s commitment to work with partners on PFR in its National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England, published in July 2020.