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Environment Agency: Flood-hit homes must be rebuilt to better cope with future floods

The Environment Agency is urging owners of properties damaged in last month’s Cumbria floods to insist that insurers repair their homes and businesses to be more flood-resilient.

The Agency has complained that properties affected by flooding are often simply returned to their previous state, meaning that similar damage is likely if flooding occurs in future. It said that repairing a property that has been flooded offers a chance to minimise the damage and disruption that could be caused by any future flood.

“We are working hard to reduce the risk of flooding to people and property, but climate change means that flood risk is likely to increase,” said Environment Agency director of flood risk Robert Runcie.

“One in six homes are already at flood risk, so it is vital that homeowners look at ways of making their property more flood-proof. The Environment Agency is urging those who have been flooded to insist that their insurer rebuilds their home so that, should future flooding occur, damage is reduced and people can return to their homes more quickly.”

In many cases, resilient repairs may not cost any more than repairs carried out on a ‘like for like’ basis. Even if additional costs are incurred during the repairs, insurers and homeowners could both save money in the long term through reduced damage. Additionally, those in flood-resilient properties will be able to return to their homes faster.

There are a variety of simple measures that can be taken whilst repairing a property that make it easier and cheaper to clean up after flooding. These include:

  • Laying ceramic tiles on the ground floor and using rugs instead of fitted carpets
  • Raising the height of electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres above ground floor level
  • Using lime plaster instead of gypsum on walls
  • Fitting stainless steel or plastic kitchens instead of chipboard ones or have movable free-standing kitchen units
  • Fit non-return valves to all drains and water inlet pipes. Replace wooden window frames and doors with synthetic ones. They are easier to clean.

“There is also a growing range of tested products for keeping flood water out of your property, which we would advise those at risk of flooding to consider, in addition to signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service on our website,” said Runcie

Readers' comments (1)

  • Owners of properties in Cumbria and elsewhere that have been flooded should also ask for the latest equipment to be used when their homes are being dried out. For instance, Direct Air Dryers can dry out properties in 21 days compared to many months using traditional methods. This means less time in temporary accommodation for those affected. This new equipment also uses much less energy and is quieter. In addition, only a few floorboards in the flooded properties need removing. All of these factors mean reduced costs for insurance companies.

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