Over 5 million people in England and Wales live and work in properties that are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. Being prepared for flooding could save your life and your property.
Recently the Environment Agency launched its new Flood Warning Service.
Icons and Messages: flood icons and warning messages should be easier to understand, provide more local information and give clear guidance about what people need to do.
Local Information: warning messages and website will feature more local information; including estimates of the time when flooding is expected, tide heights and locations that will be affected.
Information is updated at least every eight hours.
Online Flood Risk Forecast: a three-day flood risk forecast for England and Wales is available on the Agency’s website showing, county by county, the risk of flooding from rivers, sea or heavy rainfall leading to surface water flooding.
Flood Warning Summary Information: RSS gives download information from the web pages and shows a summary of Flood Warnings in force across England and Wales or for each Environment Agency Region.
The Environment Agency has a supervisory duty over all issues relating to Flood Defence including inland and tidal flooding. Its aim is to deliver effective protection against flooding and provide adequate arrangements for Flood Forecasting and Flood Warnings.
Under the heading Return of an ancient hurdler – Bronze Age Engineering is the Green Way to beat the Floods, James Crowden suggested a traditional solution to a modern problem in The Times:
“On the Somerset Levels and Moors, flooding is a way of life. Over the past 6,000 years people have learnt to live with rivers overflowing their banks, and the eerily beautiful transformation of their farmland into shimmering waterscapes. It is an ideal place for Nigel Hector’s business. He is from a long line of withy growers and his family business, English Hurdle, makes willow hurdles. Conversations with Hector always come back to rivers, willow and flooding – and his new venture Willowbank. One of its main ingredients is “spiling and faggots”, an ancient Somerset recipe for preventing riverbank erosion.”
The Times recently reported that the flood insurance blacklist was getting bigger and the number of properties blacklisted by insurers was set to increase to one million when the Government issued its first maps of urban areas with inadequate drainage.
At present, the Environment Agency classifies areas occupied by half a million homeowners as “high risk”. The insurance premiums for these properties are subject to increases of up to 30% on their premiums with excesses as much as £30,000.