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Environment Agency; Flood Action Week

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Flood Action Week: Households urged to prepare in 2022 year of extremes

The Environment Agency is urging communities not to be lulled into a false sense of security and prepare for flooding despite ongoing drought.

Flood Action Week runs 7 to 13 November 2022 and acts as a seasonal reminder for people who live in areas at risk of flooding to prepare now and take proper actions toprotect their home, possessions and family.

Rachel Burden of the Environment Agency said: 

"After record-breaking temperatures, Wessex, like most of England, went into drought. That threat on our water resources and environment has not gone away. But neither has the risk of being flooded.
"The message is clear – households risk ignoring the danger of flooding at their peril. Anyone can go online to check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and, most importantly, know what to do if flooding hits."

We are already seeing the dangers of extreme weather, with the UK this year experiencing its highest ever recorded temperatures. The Met Office confirmed that England had its joint hottest summer on record resulting in most of the country being declared in drought.

That move to drought included Wessex, which covers Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and part of south Gloucestershire. To move us out of drought we would need to see80% or more of long-term average rainfall to return to more normal conditions. Soil moisture deficit, groundwater levels and reservoir levels are low across Wessex.

The Met Office says wetter weather is more likely during early 2023, unexpected flooding could occur at any time through the winter and communities are being warned not to be complacent following this summer's dry weather.

This Flood Action Week, the Environment Agency is urging people to take three simple steps:

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said: 

"I know how devastating flooding can be – the loss of your home, the financial stress, and the destruction of irreplaceable, sentimental belongings all place unbelievable strain on those affected.
"Simple steps such as checking your flood risk online and signing up for flood warnings can make all the difference in terms of preparing yourself for what may come.
"We are committed to pressing ahead with our record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027 to ensure more communities are even better prepared for future flooding events."

At least one in six people in England are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea, with many more at risk from surface water flooding. However, nearly two in three households at risk of flooding do not believe it will happen to them, according to analysis produced by the Environment Agency earlier this year. And despite the research showing that almost two thirds of people (60%) have taken at least one action to prepare for flooding, as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare. 

Those at risk are encouraged to follow the advice to 'Prepare. Act. Survive,' specifically:-

  • If there is an initial flood alert – prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.
  • If there is a subsequent confirmed flood warning – act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety. Turn off gas, water and electricity.
  • If there is a severe flood warning – survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999if needed

With just 30cm of flowing water being enough to float a car, drivers are also being warned not to attempt to drive through flood water and take extra precautions in wet weather

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