UK – Young People Leaving Themselves Vulnerable to Flooding

Young people between 18 and 24 are leaving themselves vulnerable to the devastating effects of flooding, according to new figures released today by the Environment Agency. Just 1 in 4 people in this age group – many of whom move frequently and rent – know if they live in an area at risk of flooding, potentially putting their lives at risk.

Around 105,000 young people live in areas at medium or high risk of flooding – a fifth of the total population in those areas – but almost half said that they would not know what to do in response to a flood warning.

And while young people are the age group least aware of their risk, over two thirds (67%) of British adults haven’t checked if their home is at risk of flooding in the last 12 months, despite last winter’s extensive flooding.

With 1 in 6 properties in England at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency is urging everyone to prepare for winter by checking online if they are at risk of flooding, and signing up to free flood warnings.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

“Flooding is an ever present risk and everyone has a part to play in protecting themselves. You can find out if you are at risk online, and sign up to free flood warnings, which provide vital time for people to get themselves, their loved ones and their possessions out of harm’s way. Simple actions such as moving possessions upstairs before a flood can save an average of £6000 in damages, so the notice that a flood warning can give is really important.”

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, Floods Minister, said:

“Flooding can be absolutely devastating and that’s why we’re investing a record £2.5bn on flood defences around the country to provide better protection to an additional 300,000 homes by 2021.

“But we all need to be prepared and, if the worst happens, the most important thing is people stay safe. That’s why I’m asking everyone to check their flood risk, sign up for free warnings and make easy changes, like storing valuables in a safe, dry place.”

The YouGov survey, conducted for the Environment Agency, also found that:

  • Twice as many men as women had checked their flood risk in the last year specifically in preparation for winter
  • People in the south of England are twice as likely to have checked their flood risk specifically in preparation for winter as people in the north
  • People living in London are more likely to have checked their flood risk than any other region in England
  • Twice as many people have prepared for winter by stockpiling food than checking their flood risk
  • People are more than 7 times as likely to have prepared for winter by buying a hat, coat or umbrella, than checking their flood risk

The Environment Agency is spending more than £2.5billion to build flood schemes around the country, which will better protect 300,000 homes by 2021. Ahead of this winter it has also invested in more temporary flood barriers and high volume pumps which can be deployed at short notice right across the country – further improving the Environment Agency’s rapid flood response.

Check your flood risk here:

Floods in Tewkesbury, England, 2007. Photo: Cheltenham Borough Council, under Creative Commons
Floods in Tewkesbury, England, 2007. Photo: Cheltenham Borough Council, under Creative Commons