UK – Environment Agency Urges People to Check Flood Risk Ahead of Christmas Getaway

With wet and windy conditions expected from Friday and into the Christmas weekend, the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk – especially if driving or staying in an unfamiliar location.

Heavy rainfall is expected across parts of the north-west of England and the Pennines from Friday onwards and this brings a risk of flooding to land and roads.

Driving Risk

Driving through flood water can be life threatening – just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.

A recent survey revealed that 48% of drivers in the UK would put themselves in danger by driving through flood water.

In the last 5 years, the AA has been called out to almost 23,000 flood rescues. Many of these could have been avoided if people had checked flood warnings before they travelled.

A record number of 642 stranded vehicle callouts was recorded by the AA on Christmas Eve 2013.

The Environment Agency’s flood warning service is free and updated every 15 minutes.

For 7 years, the top 3 places in the UK for flood rescues on the roads have remained the same. Rufford Lane in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Watery Gate Lane in Leicester and Houndsfield Lane in Shirley, Solihull are all fords.

People staying away with friends or family should check the flood risk for their route and destination. The Environment Agency recommends that people stay away from swollen rivers, flood water, and coastal roads and promenades in a storm.

Credit: Environment Agency.

Environment Agency teams are out on the ground clearing river trash screens and removing blockages from rivers. Staff from the Agency, supported by the British Army, will be on standby throughout the festive period and ready to respond wherever needed. The Agency will also support local authorities responding to any surface water flooding.

Kate Marks, Environment Agency Flood Risk Duty Manager, said:

“Storm Barbara will bring rain and wind over Christmas, we want to make sure everyone gets home safely. It’s easy to check our warnings and alerts or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

“Environment Agency teams are on standby throughout the festive period and will issue flood warnings and alerts where necessary. This winter, we are more prepared than ever for severe weather. There are 6,500 staff trained to respond to flood incidents, 500 flood support officers and 1,200 soldiers on standby. We’ve also invested in new kit including 40km of temporary flood barriers and 250 high volume pumps.”

Lack of Flood Awareness

British homeowners and renters have a “dangerous” lack of awareness of how to deal with potential flooding in their home, according to drainage and water infrastructure company UKDN Waterflow (LG).

A nationwide survey conducted by the firm found that 72% of Britons are “not at all confident” or “not sure” that they would know what to do if their home flooded.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Only 21% of survey respondents correctly identified the Environment Agency’s Flood Alert symbol, while 82% said they are not at all confident that they know the difference between a Flood Alert, Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning.

In addition, 94% don’t have a ‘personal flood plan’ – a list of things you should do in the event of a flood – despite the Environment Agency recommending that all of those who live in a flood risk area creates one.


The Environment Agency makes it easy for everyone to stay aware and remain fully informed of the latest flood situation. The Environment Agency provides flood updates via their website, Twitter or telephone: