No time for complacency about flooding
Environment Agency urges action as Met Office warns of above average likelihood of a wet winter
Nearly two in three households at risk of flooding don’t believe it will happen to them, new analysis revealed by the Environment Agency today (Tuesday 23 November) has warned. It comes as the Met Office has said there is an above average likelihood of a wet winter.
Members of the public are being urged to join their friends, family and neighbours who have already taken action to help prepare themselves and their properties for possible flooding. The research shows that people who haven’t taken action to prepare for flooding are in the clear minority (30%), but this still means that as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.
The new analysis has been released at the start of Flood Action Week (22–28 November 2021), when the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and, if they are at risk, know what to do if flooding hits. Those at risk are encouraged to follow the advice to ‘Prepare. Act. Survive’, specifically:
- If there is a flood alert – prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.
- If there is a flood warning – act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety. Turn off gas, water and electricity.
- If there is a severe flood warning – survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999 if needed
The warnings come as the Environment Agency continues to prepare for possible flooding, with the Met Office’s outlook showing there is an above average chance of the UK winter being wetter than normal over the next three months.
Caroline Douglass, Executive Director of Flooding at the Environment Agency, said:
Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.
Our previous investment programme protected 314,000 properties from flooding. Our flood defences have helped to protect nearly 200,000 properties during flooding incidents since 2019, and we’re investing millions into building new schemes and making repairs to keep communities safe.
Yet we can’t prevent all flooding - climate change is only increasing that risk – and today’s figures show that while some people are prepared, many are not.
It’s vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits.
With 250 mobile pumps and 6,000 trained staff across the country, the Environment Agency is ready to take action wherever it is needed this winter. The construction and repair of flood defences has also continued throughout the year as part of the record £5.2 billion government investment to better protect 336,000 properties.
These preparations have already helped to protect communities from flooding in late October, when parts of the country saw a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours. While this sadly led to the flooding of 79 households, flood defences and Environment Agency action helped to protect over 3300 properties.
Will Lang, Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office said:
Winters in the UK usually includes a wide variety of weather and this winter looks to be no exception. However, when looking at the big global drivers that impact weather in the UK there are indications this winter could be wetter than normal.
Although these wetter conditions are most likely in January and February next year, details will become clearer nearer the time and information can be found on the forecast pages of our website.
With just 30cm of flowing water being enough to float a car, drivers are also being warned not to attempt to drive through flood water and take extra precautions in wet weather.
Tony Rich, from The AA said:
Roads can quickly become impassable during very heavy rainfall, so you should allow plenty of time for journeys. It’s also important to leave twice as much space between you and the car in front to allow for greater stopping distances.
Drivers should take extra care where roads dip, for example under bridges, as these areas are more likely to flood.
Flood water can be deceptively deep, and it doesn’t take much for water to get sucked into your engine. It can also mask other hazards in the road, such as displaced manhole covers, so if in doubt turn around and find another route.
Latest News from
Environment Agency helps industry reduce carbon emissions to fight climate emergency08/12/2021 12:10:00
Climate Change Agreements scheme delivers reduction in emissions of 6.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent during 2019 and 2020
New wetland habitats created in Norfolk06/12/2021 10:05:00
Wildlife is set to thrive after a river habitat restoration project was completed along the River Yare near Earlham.
More than 1,000 trees to be planted in Suffolk06/12/2021 09:05:00
The Environment Agency has planted over 600 trees in Suffolk so far this year with hundreds more planned this winter.
Funding secured for new £5.2 million flood scheme in Hexham01/12/2021 09:05:00
An Environment Agency scheme to better protect businesses and homes from flooding on two industrial estates in Hexham is taking a step forward with the Final Business Case approved and funding secured for the £5.2million Flood Alleviation Scheme.
Oil and gas consultation in East Yorkshire25/11/2021 10:08:00
Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited applies to Environment Agency for permission to put exploratory oil and gas drill site at West Newton into commercial production.
Deadly fish traps found in River Skerne25/11/2021 10:08:00
Officers from the Environment Agency and Darlington Borough Council are targeting illegal fishing activity on the River Skerne.
Housing company fined for polluting watercourse25/11/2021 09:25:00
Miller Homes Limited has been fined £200,000 for polluting a Huddersfield watercourse for more than 1km, after an investigation by the Environment Agency.
Environment Agency shuts down illegal waste site in Corfe Mullen24/11/2021 09:15:00
A Dorset man who ran an illegal dumping ground has been ordered to pay more than £3,000.