The Flood Guide Essential flood risk information County Council Logo Here. 1 Dear Resident... Contents 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 www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk. Your essential Flood Guide 2 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. accommodation. 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. 3 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 channeled. 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 4 Need more information or advice about flooding and details of how to purchase a property specific, conveyancing-ready flood report? Visit www.homecheckflood.co.uk 5 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 6 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 www.floodforum.org.uk 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 www.homecheckflood.co.uk for more information on flood risk and property specific flood risk assessments. Your essential Flood Guide 7 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 8 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 N ■ on-return valves in drainage pipes can reduce the impact of any future flooding. prevent the sewage backing up into the house. 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 O ■ 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 B ■ 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. P ■ 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 I ■ 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 E ■ 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 T ■ o find out more about flood prevention Ancient Buildings): www.spab.org.uk. products, visit the ‘Blue Pages’ directory on www.floodforum.org.uk. It is also worth checking with your insurance company whether any of the above measures may lead to lower premiums. 9 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 www.homecheck.co.uk. 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. 10 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 firstname.lastname@example.org ■ 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. www.floodforum.org.uk. ■ 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 email@example.com. below details: Council address: Telephone: 01299 403 055 Central Bedfordshire Council Website: www.floodforum.org.uk Priory House Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Monks Walk Chicksands The National Flood Forum Bedfordshire Snuff Mill Warehouse SG17 5TQ Bewdley Worcestershire 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 visit www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk. Homecheck To find out more about Homecheck and the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, please contact: Telephone: 0844 844 9966 Website: www.homecheckflood.co.uk Email: email@example.com Landmark Information Group The Smith Centre, Fairmile, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 6AB.