Environment Agency and B&Q hold back the tide

DIY giant B&Q has joined forces with the Environment Agency to combat flooding, and is now stocking pre-filled sandbags at 28 of its stores.

The group will also be hosting a series of flood-awareness events from now until mid-March, in support of the EA’s ongoing Flood Awareness campaign. DIY enthusiasts living in flood plains will be able to get advice on laying sandbags and fitting flood-boards to doorways and airbricks, and on the most flood-resistant products for DIY in general.

Since the extensive flooding of autumn 2000, the Environment Agency has been working to improve flood defences in vulnerable areas. It is now building new defence schemes for Chichester, Bewdley, Shrewsbury, Malton and Norton, Gowdall and Barlby, with more planned.

The EA estimates that two million homes and 185,000 businesses are at risk of flooding and that property, land and assets worth £214 billion are flood risks in England and Wales.

“Defences will not end the risk of flooding, only reduce it. With the weather showing signs of increased storminess, it is vital that people understand the risks of flooding to them, their families and businesses and that they know how to cope if the worst happens,” says the Environment Agency.

Jim Haywood, head of the Agency’s National Flood Warning Centre, said: “You can’t always prevent flooding, but you can prepare for it. The Agency’s Flood Awareness campaign aims to show people that they can reduce the flood threat to their homes and businesses by taking some very basic measures. Teaming up with B&Q, already active in the community with its ‘Being a Better Neighbour’ initiative, allows us to reinforce that message.”

“The EA has always felt one of the ideal things is for the general public to look on the risk of flooding in the same way s the risk of fire or crime,” and EA spokesman told edie. “Any DIY store sells fire alarms and burglar alarms – we felt this was a natural progression.”

He added that the initiative would not be restricted to B&Q, but that because of their existing ‘Being a Better Neighbour’ programme they were a “good place to start”.

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