"Don’t be complacent: be flood aware, prepare & protect" warns the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign on the 15th anniversary of the 2000 floods

Nov 2 2015

As we enter the Environment Agency's annual Flood Awareness fortnight, which coincides with the fifteenth anniversary of the devastating floods that affected large areas of England and Wales in 20001, the Know Your Flood Risk campaign is encouraging consumers to research into their potential risk of flooding, in addition to championing the importance of making homes resilient, if deemed to be at risk of flooding.

Mary Dhonau OBE HonRICS HonDSc, Chief Executive of the 'Know Your Flood Risk' campaign said: "This week marks the 15th anniversary of the 2000 floods, in which vast swathes of the country were faced with devastating floods – including my own home. Yet still many people are not researching their risk or putting any measures in place to make their home resilient, should they find they are living in an area that is considered to be at real risk."

In February this year, the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign commissioned a YouGov study2 that identified a lack of awareness over flood planning with only 20% of people checking flood risk before moving into a new home. This is in spite of an increasing number of flood events.

Continues Mary Dhonau: "While the Flood Re reinsurance scheme is anticipated to commence in 2016, which will ensure 'high risk' households can continue to obtain appropriate insurance, people should not be complacent. Yes, Flood Re will provide peace of mind to those at high risk but it should not be thought of as a 'get out of jail free' card. You still need to still look seriously about taking steps to reduce the risk of being flooded, in order to save on the appalling misery that it brings with it."

To add to this, the Committee on Climate Change Adaptation's (CCCA) recent projections3 of future flood risk for the UK shows that the number of UK homes in significant risk areas (1-in-75 annual chance of flooding or greater) is set to increase from 860,000 to at least 1,300,000 by 2050.

Continues Mary Dhonau: "Flood risk is set to worsen across our country and so it is vital that both government and homeowners do all they can to prevent and protect homes from future risk. When my home first flooded 15 years ago, I was very lucky to have help from my insurance company, however we were displaced for nine months. Having endured the tremendous upheaval, I put measures in place to reduce the flood risk to my home using flood resilience techniques. This meant that when flooding occurred again in 2007, I didn't need to make an insurance claim and we lived upstairs for only three weeks. Whilst this was not a picnic, it was so much better than nine months! That is why I am so evangelical encouraging people to be aware of flood risk but also to think about using flood resilient measures to the reduce the impact and misery being flooded brings with it."

Since 2000, Mary Dhonau has vociferously championed flood awareness, protection and resilience and is a passionate advocate of empowering communities to recognise and take responsibility for minimising their collective flood risk. Mary was awarded an OBE for services to the environment in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2009. In December 2014, she was awarded Honorary RICS (HonRICS) status, in recognition of her high profile in standing-up for the public's interest regarding flooding. Mary was also given the 'Voice of the Customer 'award and the CII Public Interest Awards 2015 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of England in July 2015.

The Know Your Flood Risk Campaign's mission is to raise awareness of the risk of flooding from all sources. It is a one of the UK's leading online sources for helping people find out the flood risk related to their current or future homes.

To download a copy of its free Guide to Flood Recovery or The Home Owners Guide to Flood Resilience, visit www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk. A free-to-download Flood Risk mobile app is also available to quickly assess whether a postcode is considered to be at risk of flooding. To download the app from iTunes, click on: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id941612469

For more information, visit www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk or follow the Know Your Flood Risk campaign on Twitter or via Facebook.