Rising at Molehill Green in Essex, the River Roding passes through the Wanstead and Woodford area en route to the Thames, bringing with it a very real flood risk to local homes. In the seventh of a series of articles charting the River Roding Project – which aims to reduce that risk – Nina Garner from the Environment Agency encourages us all to prepare for winter.
Over the last few editions of this publication, we have discussed different ways you can prepare for flooding. We have recently seen significant flooding across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands, with some parts of central England receiving a month’s worth of rainfall in early November alone.
Flooding can have long-term effects on lives, livelihoods and property. The threat of flooding is real and can have devastating impacts on communities, so protecting people, property and things like roads and rail continues to be the Environment Agency’s top priority. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of flooding – floods which destroy lives and property. This is why it is more important than ever to be prepared for flooding.
In England there are over five million homes at risk of flooding. The average cost of flooding to a home is £30k. Flooding also brings a significant risk to life. The mental health impacts of flooding can last for two years or more after flooding has happened. Depression, anxiety and PTSD can affect up to a third of people who have been flooded.
But, crucially, taking steps to prepare for flooding, and knowing what to do in a flood can significantly reduce the damages to a home and possessions (by around 40%), reduce risk to life, and reduce the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future.
Our campaign is focused on helping people know what action to take in a flood, based on our ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ flood guide.
Are you prepared for winter?
Our flood defences reduce the risk of flooding but we can never eliminate the risk entirely. So, as we enter the heart of winter, we have put together a summary of flood advice to help you prepare to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home.
- Find out if your property is at risk (swvg.co.uk/flood).
- Sign up to receive free flood warnings (swvg.co.uk/floodwarn).
- Create a personal flood plan. This could include preparing a bag of essential items if you need to leave your home, such as medication, warm clothing, chargers and important documents like passports.
- Find out how you can ‘prepare, act and survive’ (swvg.co.uk/pas).
- Create a community flood plan. This helps coordinate responses by helping you decide what practical action to take to support each other before, during and after a flood. Plans like these are great in helping the community get back on their feet after an incident.
If you’d like to find out more information about volunteering in your community or flood planning, please contact your local flood resilience team.