Up to 1.2 million properties are at risk of inland flooding

According to a new report commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), between 950,000 and 1.2 million properties in the UK, representing 4% of the building stock, are at risk of inland flooding.

Climate change and increased building development within or near flood plains are the two main factors affecting the likelihood of extreme floods, says the report, and will be exacerbated by the requirement for new development to meet government housing targets. With over three million new houses estimated overall in England and Wales by 2016 and a scarcity of suitable land, floodplains are under increasing pressure for both housing and commercial premises, says Entec, the company which carried out the research.

“By the 2050’s, the average temperature could have increased by 2.3C and the sea level between 22 and 83cm,” said Jim Kersey, sustainable development expert for Entec. Whilst there is a general consensus that both inland and coastal flooding may become more frequent and severe, flooding is likely to become more unpredictable, says Entec.

“The main objectives of the study were to inform the ABI on the background and key issues affecting flood risk and to obtain an initial estimate of the maximum probable exposure to claims for inland flood damage,” said Bill Finlinson, Project Manager and flood management expert at Entec.

The new research, as well as promotion of alternative drainage methods, is supporting the ABI in developing a more pro-active approach to reducing flood risk, says Entec. This includes becoming increasingly involved in the planning process with respect to new property and its location, encouraging sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) where possible and working with government for more effective prioritisation of flood defence expenditure.

“Sustainable urban drainage systems are techniques used to control the surface of water runoff from a development as close to source as possible,” said Entec expert, Steve Dickie. “SUDS can reduce the need for considerable investment in flood management and protection schemes by mitigating the intrinsic additional flood risk that a new development might otherwise generate.”

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