As many as 1.5 million households in the UK are at risk of flooding but are yet to take any action, the Environment Agency has said.
The agency has issued the warning to coincide with Flood Action Week and an alert from the Met Office that there is an above average likelihood of a wet winter.
The research used by the agency shows that people who haven’t taken action to prepare for flooding are in the minority (30%). However, this still means that as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.
‘Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding,’ said Caroline Douglass, executive director of flooding at the Environment Agency.
‘Our previous investment programme protected 314,000 properties from flooding. Our flood defences have helped to protect nearly 200,000 properties during flooding incidents since 2019, and we’re investing millions into building new schemes and making repairs to keep communities safe.
‘Yet we can’t prevent all flooding – climate change is only increasing that risk – and today’s figures show that while some people are prepared, many are not.’
She added: ‘It’s vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits.’
Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office said: ‘Winters in the UK usually includes a wide variety of weather and this winter looks to be no exception. However, when looking at the big global drivers that impact weather in the UK there are indications this winter could be wetter than normal.
‘Although these wetter conditions are most likely in January and February next year, details will become clearer nearer the time and information can be found on the forecast pages of our website.’
The Environment Agency’s warning follows research by the centre-right think-tank, Localis, showing that almost 200 local authority planning permissions have been granted on floodplain lands this year alone – involving some 5,283 homes.