The Flood Guide

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					The Flood Guide
Essential flood risk information
                                   County Council
                                     Logo Here.

                                     Dear Resident...
                                     Flooding can have a devastating impact on
   01 | Introduction
                                     homes and families. This was clearly shown
   02 | Flood case study             by the terrible floods which hit many parts of
                                     England and Wales in the summer of 2007 and in
   03 | Types of flood risk          particular affected Bedfordshire.

   05 | What to do if a flood        According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural
   happens                           Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency, approximately
                                     2.3 million properties are at risk of flooding across the
   06 | Protecting your home         UK and this is set to increase. With this in mind, we feel
   from flooding                     it is of great importance to share guidance and practical
                                     information on flood risk with you.
   07 | Who helps when a
   flood occurs                      This guide has been produced by Homecheck in association
                                     with the National Flood Forum, the flood charity whose
   08 | Minimise the risk to         aim is to provide support and advice to communities and
   your home                         individuals that have been flooded or are at risk of flooding.
                                     We do hope it provides you with a useful reference point for
   09 | Where do I find flood        flood information both today and in the future.
   risk information?

   10 | National Flood Forum
                                     Mrs Patricia E Turner MBE
   11 | Contact us                   Council Leader
                                     Central Bedfordshire Council

   About this guide...
   Produced by Central Bedfordshire Council in association
   with Homecheck and the National Flood Forum, this
   guide offers practical advice about flood risk, including
   what to do in the event of a flood and useful flood
   related contacts. The information within the guide has
   been gathered by Homecheck, the organisation working
   with the National Flood Forum in launching the Know
   Your Flood Risk campaign, created to raise awareness
   surrounding flood risk. To find out more about the aims
   of this campaign, and details of how to join, please visit

Your essential Flood Guide

                                               Carol’s Story

In June 2007, many areas in                      More than 250mm (10 inches) of water fell in
England experienced unprecedented,               Hull in June 2007, with up to 105mm in areas
                                                 of the city on June 25th alone. At one period,
devastating floods. Tens of thousands            6mm an hour was falling on saturated land.
of people were driven from their                 People were unaware of such risks and as a
homes, forced into temporary                     result, many were unprepared.
                                                 I will definitely seek further information
Nearly a year later, over 11,000 people were     on flood risk in the future and would urge
still homeless, living in cramped conditions     homeowners to be made more aware of
with very limited and basic facilities.          all environmental risks.
After suffering the inconvenience of living in   Carol Laws, Hull
a caravan in their garden for 10 months whilst
                                                 In July 2009, the government revealed that
repair work was being undertaken
                                                 168 people were still living in temporary
to their property, the Laws family finally
                                                 accomodation from these floods.
moved back into their house – nearly a year
after the floods.

What types of flood risk
could affect a property?
There are actually several different types of flooding which can affect your home and
this is why it’s important to ensure you have sufficiently assessed the potential risk to
your property by looking at flood risk in a wider perspective. The following information
describes the different types of flooding which may affect your home.

Surface Water (Pluvial) Flooding                      Engineering solutions that can be put in place to
                                                      mitigate the impact of this type of flooding are
This type of flooding is caused because the
                                                      limited simply because of the huge volumes of
volume of water falling or flowing onto the ground
                                                      water involved and because it is not contained or
overwhelms existing drainage systems. A major
contributor of the severe 2007 floods, such
flooding is usually short lived and associated with   Groundwater Flooding
heavy downpours of rain. Often there is limited       Groundwater flooding can be predicated in
advance notice due to the intense nature of water     advance by the Environment Agency who monitor
flow needed to create such flooding. However          aquifer levels throughout the year.
weather forecasts from the Met Office can give a
good generalised indication of the flood risk.        This is the most problematic type of flooding in
                                                      many areas. It is different from surface water
Most highway drainage systems are designed            flooding caused directly by very high levels
to deal with certain frequencies of storm and         of rainfall. Where the geology of an area is
rainfall intensity. Flooding can be caused by the     predominantly chalk (which contains layers of
sheer volume of water or indicate a blockage          water-bearing rock, clay, or sand) aquifers may
or maintenance problem with the system. Any           be present. There is a natural cycle in which the
flooding should be reported so that the risk can be   aquifers are filled with rain water in the winter and
dealt with and the system checked for adequacy.       discharged into chalk streams.
Coastal and Fluvial Flooding                          When the aquifers are filled to overflowing in the
Fluvial flooding occurs when rivers overflow and      winter, natural springs and winterbournes are
burst their banks due to high or intense rainfall.    activated (winterbournes are streams or rivers that
Coastal flooding is caused by high tides and/         are dry in the summer months). Exceptional periods
or severe weather breaching sea defences and          of rain can cause groundwater flooding from springs
inundating the surrounding areas.                     and winterbournes which inundate roads and
                                                      overwhelm drainage systems. This type of flooding
Both of these events can be predicted in advance.
                                                      can last for weeks or months. An early indication of
Refer to the Environment Agency and Met office
                                                      groundwater flooding is often when property cellars
websites for flood risk indications.
                                                      start to fill with water.

Your essential Flood Guide

Need more information or advice
about flooding and details of how
to purchase a property specific,
conveyancing-ready flood report?


What to do if a
flood happens
     Taking the right action before and when a flood occurs can be the difference
     between serious and minimal damage to your property and health. The
     following advice provided by the Environment Agency offers key steps to take
     when a flood arrives in your area.

     What to do when you hear a                            Staying safe in a flood
     Flood Warning                                         ■		Do not be tempted to go and watch the waves
                                                              come in – they are dangerous and you will be
     ■	 Listen out for further flood information on           putting yourself at risk.
        radio and TV.
                                                           ■		Listen to the local news and to the emergency
     ■		Move pets, vehicles, valuables and other              services who will advise if evacuation is
        items to safety.                                      necessary and check on elderly relatives and
                                                              make sure they are ok.
     ■		Alert your neighbours, particularly the elderly.
     ■		Put any flood protection products or               ■		Floods can kill. Don’t try to walk or drive
                                                              through floodwater - six inches of fast flowing
        equipment in place – but make sure your
                                                              water can knock you over and two feet of
        property is ventilated. Plug sinks/baths.
                                                              water will float your car. Manhole covers may
     ■		Be ready to turn off gas and electricity.             have come off and there may be other hazards
        Unplug electrical items and move them                 you can’t see.
        upstairs if possible.
                                                           ■		Never try to swim through fast flowing water
     ■		Cooperate with emergency services and                 - you may get swept away or be struck by an
        local authorities - you may be evacuated to           object in the water.
        a rest centre.
                                                           ■		Don’t walk on sea defences, riverbanks or
     ■		Do as much as you can in daylight. Doing              cross river bridges. They may collapse in
        anything in the dark will be a lot harder,            extreme situations or you may be swept off by
        especially if the electricity fails.                  large waves. Beware of stones and pebbles
                                                              being thrown up by waves.
     ■		It is also worth taking a photo of as many
        household items as possible, this could be         ■		Be aware of contaminated water as there is
        useful for insurance claim purposes.                  potential for sewage to mix with flood water,
                                                              this could provide health risks to those who
                                                              come into contact with it.

Your essential Flood Guide

Protecting your home from flooding
Although the risk of flooding is increasing, there are measures you can take to protect your
home prior to a flood turning up at your doorstep. There are a number of companies who
offer products to protect your home from a variety of the major risks. This page offers you an
insight into some of the key damage prevention tools which are available.

Flood barriers                                    Flood water pumps
Flood barriers come in many different             A variety of water pumps are now available
shapes and forms. The main principle is to        and choosing one depends on how much
block flood entry into the property itself, via   water would need to be pumped. Motorised
doors and other points of entry such as air       petrol pumps can pump large amounts of
vents. Alternatively, it may be possible to       water at incredibly fast speads. These are
block off an area surrounding the property,       often quite cumbersome and suited to severe
stopping the flood flow in the process. Door      flooding scenarios where speed is of the
barriers have minimal aesthetic impact and        essence. Alternatively, you can obtain smaller
are now advanced enough to withstand severe       electrical pumps which can be in place within
flooding and ensure a waterproof seal on the      a flood area. Such a pump obviously requires
entrances to your home.                           you to have an electricity source which has
                                                  not been affected by flood – if you are
                                                  ever unsure, then call an electrician
Protecting electrics                              for confirmation.
Flooding of electrics can cause thousands
of pounds worth of damage. However, there
are steps which can be taken to protect
                                                  Further Information
the electrics within your home. First, the        For further information on flood prevention
most obvious step to take is to switch off        products, please visit
all electrical items and put any electrical       where you will find a link to the Blue Pages,
equipment in a raised position. In addition,      which includes contact details for a number
plug covers and housing for any exposed           of companies and further advice on how your
electrics can be purchased to ensure              home can be protected.
electrical access routes are blocked.             To identify whether the above precautions
                                                  may be necessary, it is worth obtaining
                                                  a Flood Report which will enable you to
                                                  understand the potential risks to your
                                                  home. Visit for
                                                  more information on flood risk and property
                                                  specific flood risk assessments.
Your essential Flood Guide

Who helps when
a flood occurs?
  Flooding is a growing risk and should be
  considered by all homeowners. If you live in
                                                     The Fire & Rescue Service
  one of the 2.3 million properties at risk of       ■	 Main objective is to save lives and evacuate
  flooding across England and Wales (source:            people to safety.
  Environment Agency and Defra), your home or
  business is more likely to be flooded than it is
                                                     ■	 Some local services provide water pumping
                                                        to remove flood water.
  to catch fire. Most people know who to contact
  in the event of a fire but would you and your
  family know who to speak to when a flood risk      The Citizens Advice Bureau
  is apparent?                                       ■	 In some circumstances the Citizens Advice
                                                        Bureau can issue advice on how to obtain
  The following offers a summary of the
                                                        money in an emergency and what action to
  responsibilities associated with organisations
                                                        take around insurance.
  that are on hand before, during and after a
  flood so you know who to contact to obtain         ■	 Contact information on your local Bureau can
  specific information.                                 be found in the phone book or on the Citizens
                                                        Advice Bureau website.
  The Environment Agency
  In England and Wales, the Environment Agency
                                                     Local Authorities
  is responsible for building, maintaining and       ■	 Work with the police, fire and rescue services
  operating flood defences and for issuing flood        and the Environment Agency to coordinate
  warnings to the public, other flood responding        responses during severe flooding.
  organisations and the media.
                                                     ■	 Issue advice to the local area about the
  The Environment Agency also provides the              incident and what action to take.
  Floodline 0845 988 1188 service. You can listen    ■	 Organise rest centres for people evacuated
  to recorded flood warning information for your        from their homes and set up temporary
  area or speak to an operator for advice 24 hours      shelters/accommodation for those people
  a day.                                                who have nowhere else they can go to.

  The Police                                         ■	 Address road closures and disruption to
                                                        social services.
  When a major flood incident occurs the Police
  coordinate the emergency services and help         ■	 Where resource and material are available,
  with the evacuation of people from their homes        they may supply sandbags and/or other
  where necessary.                                      preventative materials.

Your essential Flood Guide

Minimise the risk
to your home
If you are planning on carrying out work to      The following steps could help you reduce
renovate or improve your home, this page         the cost and clear up time after a flood:
offers advice to protect your property and
                                                 ■	 	 on-return valves in drainage pipes can
reduce the impact of any future flooding.
                                                    prevent the sewage backing up into the
The below points are worth considering to
prevent water from entering your property:          I
                                                 ■	 	nstall electrical sockets higher up walls,
                                                    taking into consideration the previous level
■	 	 nce a risk has been identified to a
                                                    of flooding.
   property, it may be worth considering
   flood protection barriers.                       G
                                                 ■	 	 aps which surround access points into the
                                                    home should be checked, i.e. dishwasher
■	 	 efore you make any changes to your
                                                    and sink pipes.
   home, it is important to obtain advice from
   a surveyor or building professional with         E
                                                 ■	 	 nsure waterproof door and window frames
   experience of flood related issues.              are installed, providing a sealant to prevent
                                                    future flooding.
■	 	 erform regular assessments of the
   condition of your home, checking for cracks      T
                                                 ■	 	 he use of waterproof paint both internally
   or gaps beginning to form between bricks.        and externally adds protection to walls
                                                    themselves and also decreases the risk
■	 	f your area is known to be at risk of
                                                    to paintwork.
   flooding, some councils may be able
   to offer grants to help with protecting          T
                                                 ■	 	 he installation of closed cell insulation
   your home.                                       within wall cavities next to existing mineral
                                                    insulation will decrease the risk of
■	 	 nsure that any development to the
                                                    flood penetration.
   surroundings of your property takes into
   consideration water run-off routes.              F
                                                 ■	 	 or older properties, it is worth seeking
                                                    advice from SPAB (Society for Protection of
■	 	 o find out more about flood prevention
                                                    Ancient Buildings):
   products, visit the ‘Blue Pages’ directory
                                                 It is also worth checking with your
                                                 insurance company whether any
                                                 of the above measures may lead to
                                                 lower premiums.

Where do I find flood
risk information?
There are a number of sources of flood risk              ■	 Unique Insurance Claims Data
information such as the Environment Agency’s               Claims numbers are a strong indicator of
website and the Floodline flood alert service on           flood risk. This report assesses the volume
0845 988 1188. This free service provides flood            of verified flood insurance claims made in a
warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile,               postcode sector.
email, SMS text message, fax or pager. In                ■		British Geological Survey (BGS) Susceptibility
addition to signing up for warnings, you can get           to Groundwater Flooding
simple advice on what to do before, during and             A property does not need to be near a river or
after a flood.                                             sea to be flooded.

You can also obtain property specific                    ■		BGS Geological Indicators
information by ordering a Flood Report from                Past flooding gives a strong clue to where
                                                           flooding may occur in the future. BGS identifies Such a report allows
                                                           geological deposits associated with flooding
you to view the potential risk to your current or
                                                           to show where potential future flooding
prospective property.                                      could occur.
                                                         ■		Official Environment Agency Data
The flood risk to your property                            The report also includes flood data from the
                                                           Environment Agency, a trusted source of flood
The Homecheck Flood Report features a flood risk
                                                           risk information.
assessment including clear guidance and detailed
flood risk information from leading data providers.      ■		Up-front Assessment
It looks at a comprehensive set of flood data              Colour coded assessment on the introduction
before issuing an easy to read result representing         page clearly shows you whether any issues
an indication of the risk associated with a property.      are present.

■	 Surface Water (pluvial) and 75 year return
     period data
     Exclusive, ground breaking data on surface
     water run-off (pluvial) flooding. Approximately
                                                         Did you know you can also get a
     50% of the 2007 floods occurred away from EA        flood report for commercial sites?
     floodplains, with 60-70% due to pluvial flooding.
                                                         Call 0844 844 9966 for more information.
■	 Norwich Union Flood Risk and Insurability
     Indicates the likelihood that one of Britain’s
     leading insurers would insure a residential
     property. The data also gives a property-specific
     assessment of river and coastal flood risk.

                             Supporting flood victims

This guide has been created in conjunction with the National Flood Forum. The charity
provides support and advice to communities and individuals that have been flooded or
are at risk of flooding. It is a collective, authoritative voice that aims to influence central
and local government and all agencies that manage flood risk. Run by people who have
experienced the trauma, loss and frustration that go with flooding or have first hand
experience of supporting the victims of flooding both during and after the event.

The aims of the                                   The National Flood Forum
National Flood Forum                              is a registered charity
■		To advise and support communities and          They welcome sponsorship and donations:
   individuals that flood or are at flood risk.
                                                  To sponsor or make a donation, ring
■		To raise awareness of the plight of flood      Amanda Davies on 01299 403101 or email
  victims that experience flooding.               on
■		To encourage the establishment of              For a list of flood protection products and
  community led groups for mutual                 services and further information on the
  support and action to mitigate their            work of the charity, please visit
  future risk of flooding.              
■		To instigate multi agency collaboration
  and mediation between those that flood          National Flood
  and those that manage flood risk.               Forum contacts
■		To organise “flood protection exhibitions”     Amanda Davies – Office Administrator
  to provide public information and advice
  from the NFF, government agencies and           Heather Shepherd – Community Groups
  self help protection firms.                                        Officer

■		To work to secure effective and                Mary Dhonau – Chief Executive
  appropriate action by working with:
  Government, Insurance Companies,
  Environment Agency, Local Authorities
  and Water Companies.
                                                   Contact us

Contact your council                            The National Flood Forum
To contact Central Bedfordshire Council         The National Flood Forum is a charity that
regarding flood risk and any concerns you       supports flood victims and those at risk of
may have, please call 0300 300 8000 or email    flooding. They can be contacted by using the   below details:

Council address:                                Telephone: 01299 403 055
Central Bedfordshire Council                    Website:
Priory House                                    Email:
Monks Walk
Chicksands                                      The National Flood Forum
Bedfordshire                                    Snuff Mill Warehouse
SG17 5TQ                                        Bewdley
Know Your Flood Risk                            DY12 2EL
If you wish to find out more about Know Your
Flood Risk, the campaign created to raise
awareness surrounding flood risk, please

To find out more about Homecheck and the
Know Your Flood Risk campaign, please

Telephone: 0844 844 9966

Landmark Information Group
The Smith Centre, Fairmile,
Henley-on-Thames, RG9 6AB.

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