Two-Thirds of UK Households Fail to Check Flood Risk Levels

A recent survey by Know Your Flood Risk, the campaign to raise awareness of the risk of flooding in the UK, indicates that two-thirds of UK households fail to check flood risk levels, identifying a lack of awareness over flood planning and responsibility, despite 1 in 6 homes being considered at risk.

The UK has been hit by severe floods several times in the last 10 years. The summer of 2007 saw flooding cause damage to over 50,000 properites.  The summer of 2012 was the second wettest summer on record. December 2013 saw major flood damage after storm surges. One of the wettest winters on record the followed, where wide areas of southern England, in particular the Somerset Levels, were famously under water for several weeks. A 2014 report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in UK said that increased flood risk is the greatest threat to the UK from climate change.

The YouGov survey, which was commissioned by the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign, reports that homeowners in England’s North East were the least likely to have carried out any checks, with 88% confirming they had never researched their flood risk. Homeowners in the South East fared the best, although 55% of those surveyed still hadn’t checked their flood risk.

The survey also suggests that many do not take the threat of a flood seriously, with just 6% of respondents confirming that they have a flood plan and are sure of what they would do if a flood occurred in their homes. Worryingly, a third of people (31%) reported that they do not have a plan and would not know what to do in the event of a flood.

The survey also identifies that the public are still not making flood checks part of their research process when moving into a new home; just 20% of respondents currently check the flood risk of their home before moving in, and only 11% check after.

Mary Dhonau OBE, Chief Executive of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, said: “People have short memories just three years ago in 2012 we had the second wettest summer on record and during the summer of 2007, 55,000 properties were flooded. With such wide-scale media coverage of the devastation that significant flood events cause, it’s surprising that the public are not doing their homework when it comes to protecting their homes. With so many floods in recent times combined with flood insurance problems, it’s worrying that so few people check their flood risk before they buy”.

Who is Responsible for Flood Protection?

The research went on to identify that there is confusion over who is responsible for protecting a home against flooding. Respondents considered a range of organisations that they believe have a responsibility to protect homes against flooding including the Environment Agency (57%), their local council (55%) and the Government (34%). Homeowners (55%), landlords (39%) and tenants (23%) were also noted as being responsible for protecting a home against flooding.

Mary Dhonau added, “It is also interesting to see the level of confusion over who should protect homes from being flooded. It is clear that there is still a need to educate homeowners of their responsibility and to ensure they know where to go to find this information.”

“Your home is the most expensive asset you are ever likely to own, so it pays to be prepared in order to protect it. Information is out there to alert you to such risks, including our Know Your Flood Risk report, which provides detailed analysis so you can plan or take appropriate action in advance of any flood events occurring. By doing so, mitigating any risk upfront may also allow reduced premiums on home and contents insurance, which many people may be unaware of.”

About the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign

The Know Your Flood Risk Campaign’s mission is to raise awareness of the risk of flooding from all sources. It is one of the UK’s leading online sources for helping people find out the flood risk related to their current or future homes. For example, users can purchase a Know Your Flood Risk Report, which assesses the potential risk and confirms whether they will be able to obtain insurance at standard terms. The property-specific assessment report can be purchased via the website.

In addition to the flood report, the Know Your Flood Risk campaign also provides comprehensive guidance via its website and a free mobile app, which offers information about flood forecasts and warnings, example flood plans, details of how to protect against floods or how to recover if affected by a flood.

For more information, visit