UK warned flood risk still not recognised

A leading charity has warned the UK is not prepared for the growing threat of increased flooding.

The British Red Cross has released a new report, Every time it rains, which concluded the UK is ill-prepared for worsening flooding. The report highlighted the low proportion of people who know how to get flooding information, understand their areas flood risk or know how to prepare. This is despite early warnings of potential floods this winter and in early 2023.

Chris Davies, head of emergency planning and response at the British Red Cross said: “Floods are one of the most serious climate-related hazards we face in this country. They can devastate homes, destroy irreplaceable and sentimental items, cost families thousands of pounds of damage and cause immense suffering.

“This research shows us that while most people recognise that climate change is increasing the risk of floods, they don’t know how to prepare or get information. Millions of people across the country are vulnerable but only one in seven have taken steps to protect their homes.

“We’re calling on national and local governments to work with communities to better prepare the public for flooding. We need clearer information on what to do before, during and after a flood and we need to ensure communities fully understand the risk they face. With  more determined action we can help make sure people are empowered to cope with both current and future flood risk.”

The report found:

  • Four in five people [81%] don’t know where to get information on floods;
  • Three in four people [73%] don’t have good understanding of their area’s flood risk;
  • One in seven [15%] don’t have buildings or contents insurance. Half of those without insurance said this was due to cost of living or other financial pressures;
  • Two in three people [66%] in the UK think that we are currently seeing more flooding in the UK as a result of climate change.  Over three in four [77%] think it is likely that climate change will result in more flooding in the UK.

The British Red Cross is calling for changes to increase the UK’s resilience to floods, including:

  • Better use of future flood risk maps and data to help communities to understand their risk and take action;
  • Prioritised support for those communities and individuals who are particularly vulnerable;
  • Flooding information that is tailored to the needs of specific communities;
  • Support for people to get the right insurance against flooding;
  • Clarity on what actions individuals and businesses should take to prepare for flooding;
  • Improved engagement between local authorities and affected communities to support local action and build resilience;
  • A coordinated and comprehensive national approach and guidance to prepare and respond to emergencies, including floods.