The Environmental Agency (EA) has announced that a high number of properties located in the areas with the highest risk of flooding have been added to its free national flood warning service. The Agency is still advising property and business owners to check their local flood risk and to sign up for the free river or coastal flood warnings. According to the EA, one in six properties in the country are at risk for damage from flooding. The number of homes and businesses already signed up for the EA’s free flood warning service has risen to 1.1 million from 300,000 in 2008. The percentage of properties in high-risk areas, which are already signed up, is sitting at close to 60 per cent. This is a significant increase from 2008, when the percentage of homes signed up was 14 per cent.
The organisation made the decision to extend its flood warning service on the recommendation of the Pitt Review, conducted after the floods that occurred in the summer of 2007. The EA has indicated that it will continue expanding the eligible areas of the country that can register for the flood warning service.
Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Dr Paul Leinster, stated: “Many communities are at lower risk of flooding from rivers and the sea as a result of major improvements to defences. We’ve completed more than 300 new flood schemes since 2008, increasing protection to more than 182,000 households. We continue to reduce flood risk through better flood warnings and improved plans to respond when flooding does occur. However, the reality is that flooding can’t be totally prevented. More people are becoming aware of the risks a flood might pose. Everyone should check the Environment Agency’s website to see if their house is in a flood risk area and to find out what simple steps they can take to prepare for flooding, such as signing up for free river and sea flood warnings.”
Richard Benyon, the Floods Minister, said: “We want to reduce the threat of flooding and the anxiety it brings for as many people as we can. An easy way to improve your flood protection is to be better prepared, which is why I encourage those at risk to continue to sign up for the Environment Agency’s free flood warnings.”