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Flood Risk

28 November

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One of the major bookmakers in the country recently offered odds for a hose pipe ban in 2013 was 100 to 1. Many of us here in the South West must be thinking these laughably short odds, considering the weather we are currently experiencing.

The Newquay Weather Station has recorded 153.1mm of rainfall for November, and we still have three full days to go. To put this into context, the average November rainfall measured since 2007 by the Newquay Weather Station is 85mm. It is no wonder that nationally we are expecting 2012 to be the wettest on record.

There are two types of flooding that we look at when assessing the risk to a property. River and Coastal flooding occurs when water breaches the natural boundaries and manmade defences to inundate adjacent areas. The second type of flooding, referred to as Pluvial Flooding, occurs when the natural geology and the manmade drainage systems cannot cope with the high volumes of rainfall and cause surface water flooding.

The average cost of an insurance claim for flood damage is approximately £30,000. It is little wonder, therefore, that the insurance companies are not keen to insure properties at greater risk of flooding. The only reason that insurance has remained available in recent years is because of an agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers, which has meant the government has increased spending on flood defences while the insurers maintain affordable policies for properties at greater risk from flooding. This agreement ends in 2013 and a replacement for it is a long way from being finalised. In fact, news on 26th November 2012 stated that the talks were at a ‘crisis point’.

With the uncertainty surrounding whether properties at risk of flooding will be insurable, there is also the risk that in the future they may not be mortgageable. It is therefore imperative, and required by planning guidelines, that those looking to develop sites investigate and assess the risk from fluvial flooding, and design drainage systems capable of managing pluvial flooding.

If you are looking to develop a site and would like to assess the risk from flooding, please call 01872 560200.