Flood plains and overwhelmed drains – are you at risk?
Devon residents probably aren’t thinking too much about the cause of this weekend’s heavy rain – a southward shift in the Jet Stream. They’re too busy dealing with the aftermath of widespread flooding.
In many parts of the UK, it’s been a weekend of heavy rain and flooding. If you were affected and have got home insurance that covers flood damage, that’s good news. But if you need any help, we’ve pulled together our advice for putting in a successful claim.
On the other hand, if you’re struggling to find affordable home insurance cover, a specialist broker may be able to help. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) has a ‘find a broker’ helpline that can help you find a flood specialist insurance broker.
No sea or river? You could still see floods
The recent floods haven’t just affected those who live by rivers or on the coast, so many people might not have realised that their properties were in a danger area. According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), over half of the five million properties at risk of flooding in England are at risk of surface flooding alone.
Defra explains that surface flooding is where high rainfall events exceed the drainage capacity in an area. So that’s a lot of people who live nowhere near a body of water who are at risk of flooding.
The Environment Agency’s flood notification system seems to have helped many people prepare for the effects of flooding, but it can’t, of course, stop the rain falling. So is there a way to fix the problem?
Ways to ease up flooding
Let’s start by looking at last winter. Every time it snowed, we had the inevitable debate between those who say we should buy more snow ploughs and those who think it’s not worth the money for an event that happens so rarely. But flooding is different.
While major flooding of the likes we’ve seen in recent weeks doesn’t happen very often, the effect it has on individual homes when it does happen is catastrophic. Prevention measures were put in place after previous flooding in Ottery St Mary near Exeter, and seem to have worked. So is it worth rolling these measures out to other areas?
I’d say yes it is, but we also have a role to play both individually and collectively. In many towns and cities, front gardens have been concreted over, back gardens sold to property developers and public spaces given over to the building of homes and shopping centres. It’s inevitable that some of the water that would have been absorbed by the land now finds its way into an overwhelmed drainage system.
In my opinion, we need a joined-up plan from local authorities, local planning departments, water companies and communities. The heavy rain isn’t anyone’s fault, but our inability to deal with it is.
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