With confirmation that 2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK and the Environment Agency revealing that in England and Wales 2.5 million properties are at risk of coastal and river flooding, the risk of exposure to flooding has increased dramatically.
The need for investment in flooding defences is surely greater than ever. Figures compiled by the Greater London Authority and released by the Guardian, show that 850,000 properties lie in areas of London where there is significant risk of surface water, river and tidal flooding.
This accounts for one in four of every property in London. Yet, while the collective value of these properties is around £250 billion, there has been a 50% reduction in flood defence investment in London between 2009-10 and 2012-13, from £34 million to £17 million.
The susceptibility of land to flooding is also an important factor when considering land purchase or undertaking new developments, whether large or small. A Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is becoming ever more crucial to a planning application, as the risks to occupiers and owners grow increasingly serious. FRAs investigate the probability of flooding in an area, and present recommendations for mitigating measures to reduce the impact of flooding to the site and surrounding area.
William Chambers of Planning and Environmental Consultancy, EnviroSolution, commented that after the recent flooding in Europe, where damage is estimated at €12bn but where insurance only is in place for €3bn, and with the imminent expiry of the one month extension agreement between the UK Government and Insurance Industry, to provide cover for High Flood Risk properties, it is essential for developers to consider an FRA prior to buying a site or developing a scheme, as it could leave tracts of land blighted and properties unsalable.
Property Aspects appreciates the contribution to this article from Will Chambers of EnviroSolution. EnviroSolution is able to provide detailed Flood Risk Assessments for residential or commercial developments of any scale, nationwide.