Protecting your property from flooding
If you have a property at risk of flooding, it’s your responsibility to protect it and the occupants. You should ensure that you have an up to date flood plan and practice it. It’s also important to have financial planning in place to protect your personal or business property.
If you have had flood protection products installed, remember that to remain effective, they should be checked and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
If repairs or adjustments are required and you are uncertain on how to do them, contact the installer who fitted them. You should also practice fitting your flood gate so you can do this quickly and easily if there’s a flood.
Landlords are asked to advise tenants of their flood risk and work with them to enable them to prepare and minimise damage in the event of a flood.
A jointly written flood plan can remind tenants of the need to store sentimental items and important documents upstairs, move valuable items to safety, switch off gas, electric and water, and take measures to limit damage by rolling up carpets, lining doors, raising furniture and so on.
Maintaining your land
If you have a watercourse running through or on the boundary of your property you are a riparian owner and have a number of responsibilities – and failure to fulfil these could result in legal action.
You must let water flow naturally, report any incidents, prevent pollution and protect wildlife. While you have the right to protect your property from flooding and erosion, you must get permissions to build anything in or around the watercourse and not build anything which could divert water and increase flood risk to other people’s property.
It is important to maintain the bed and banks of the watercourse, and also the trees and shrubs growing on the banks. You must clear any debris, even if it did not originate from your land, and control invasive non-native species such as Himalayan Balsam, which can harm biodiversity, obstruct the free flow of water and cause riverbank erosion.
As well as taking steps to minimise flood damage, there are various things that you can do to help slow the rate of surface water runoff during heavy rainfall, reducing the risk of flooding in the first place. Sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) can be implemented in a variety of settings and include measures such as leaky water butts, permeable paving and green roofs.
Opportunities in your community
Joining a flood group or becoming an Environment Agency flood warden are both rewarding ways to support your community on a wider scale. These help local people out in a variety of ways, such as warning neighbours about possible flooding, keeping vulnerable people safe during a flood and cleaning up afterwards.
If you love the great outdoors, volunteering for a natural flood management (NFM) organisation is a great way to enjoy nature and keep fit whilst doing your bit to help reduce flood risk. From tree planting and riverside clean-ups to moorland restoration and dam building, a wide range of opportunities are available to suit all interests and areas of expertise.