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Environment Agency: Research Shows Homeowners in Flood Prone Areas Aren’t Taking Steps to Protect Homes

Millions of households and businesses in flood prone areas are failing to put in basic protection against rising waters – according to new figures.

The cost-of-living crisis is prompting over half (56%) of property owners to take on DIY projects in a bid to minimise damage and expensive repair work in the future. Yet three in four (74%) households in flood risk areas have taken no steps to protect their homes from floods by installing Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures – according to new research from the Environment Agency and Flood Re.

Today as many as 5.5 million homes and businesses are at risk of flooding and this is set to worsen with climate change. In fact, since 1998, the UK has experienced six of the wettest years on record. Figures show it costs, on average, £32,000 to recover and repair affected properties – often forcing victims to live away from their homes for an average of 6 to 9 months, bringing huge emotional and mental distress.

Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures are simple and cost-effective home improvements that reduce the damage and can limit the cost of repair work after a flood by as much as 73%, whilst also helping people get back into their homes quicker.

To help households to protect themselves from flood damage the Be Flood Smart Campaign is highlighting five PFR measures to consider this Bank Holiday.

1. Floating shelves
Installing floating shelves, raised high above the potential flood level, can help keep loved possessions away from flood’s harm.

2. Non-return valves and toilet bungs
Flood water can flow up through wastewater pipes and flood the property with foul water. Non-return valves can be fitted to prevent dirty water from drains and toilets flowing into the house, while ensuring normal wastewater can flow out. Inflatable bungs are another effective way to stop flood water from entering the property through the toilet.

3. Airbrick covers
Airbricks are small bricks with holes near to ground level which supply ventilation to your property. They are almost always used in construction and are there to enable the house to ‘breathe’.

But during a flood, they can let in dirty and damaging water. Airbrick covers can be fitted easily and quickly when you know intense rain is coming that might trigger a flood.

4. Flooring choices
If you’re considering new flooring for your downstairs, choose materials that are flood resilient rather than carpet. A hard surface like tiling can considerably reduce the damage caused and make for a much easier cleanup.

5. Flood doors and barriers
Doorways provide easy access for flood water to invade your property. Replacing a standard door with a flood-resistant door or barrier can form a seal that stops or significantly slows the speed at which water enters, giving you time to act and protect what makes your house a home. Look for products with a British Kitemark.