Environment Agency urges the public to prepare for flooding risk

Nearly two in three households at risk of flooding don’t believe it will happen to them, new analysis revealed by the Environment Agency today (Tuesday, November 23) has warned.

It comes as the Met Office has said there is an above average likelihood of a wet winter.

Members of the public are being urged to join their friends, family and neighbours who have already taken action to help prepare themselves and their properties for possible flooding.

The research shows that people who haven’t taken action to prepare for flooding are in the clear minority (30%), but this still means that as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.

The new analysis has been released at the start of Flood Action Week (November 22-28, 2021), when the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and, if they are at risk, know what to do if flooding hits.

Those at risk are encouraged to follow the advice to ‘Prepare. Act. Survive’, specifically:
  • If there is a flood alert – prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service;
  • If there is a flood warning – act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety. Turn off gas, water and electricity;
  • If there is a severe flood warning – survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999 if needed.

The warnings come as the Environment Agency continues to prepare for possible flooding, with the Met Office’s outlook showing there is an above average chance of the UK winter being wetter than normal over the next three months.

Caroline Douglass, executive director of flooding at the Environment Agency, said:

“Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.

“Our previous investment programme protected 314,000 properties from flooding. Our flood defences have helped to protect nearly 200,000 properties during flooding incidents since 2019, and we’re investing millions into building new schemes and making repairs to keep communities safe.

Yet we can’t prevent all flooding – climate change is only increasing that risk – and today’s figures show that while some people are prepared, many are not.

“It’s vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits.”