Following the major flooding events over the last winter (2015/16), the government were to hold an enquiry into strategies to prevent future occurrences. The report - due to be published late July has been postponed - ‘for a few more weeks’.
It is estimated that 5 million homes in England alone at risk of flooding, with potential restoration and repair costs in the hundreds of millions to several billion.
There used to be talks of ‘1 in a hundred years floods’ and ‘1 in fifty years’, now those have become 1 in 10, 1 in 5 and if you’re unlucky to live in some parts of the country - it is typically every year!
So what causes a flood?
Global warming? Building on flood-plains? Concreting large surface areas? Cutting Environment Agency and local authority budgets? Or water?
There are proactive flood prevention programmes strategically designed to protect certain areas and many ‘domestic-focused’ protection products - but for the most part - up to now, measures seem to be more reactive - trying to mitigate and reduce negative impacts to as low as possible.
Given the past history of damage management responses over the years, in general, practices have improved - although, from my personal opinion, there is still room for improvement - of which I’m sure there will be agreement.
Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lack of communication and coordination between insurers, adjusters, surveyors and contractors. Perhaps it’s time - while the government focuses on prevention - we can all focus on designing a more ethical, sustainable, integrated and consistent approach to help those unfortunate homes and business’s…
So, will we ever prevent flooding? Not unless we can stop rain. But we can help to reduce the impact, burden, misery and costs - surely that’s something to aim for!
A final thought. Whilst some parts of the world experience disastrous weather-related flooding - other parts experience devastating drought and famine. What irony…
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