New map to help firms prepare for flooding

16th December 2013

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Katherine Sherwin

The Environment Agency has published a new map detailing the risk of surface water flooding in local areas across England

The online, interactive map is in addition to existing free maps detailing the risk of flooding posed by rivers and the sea, and provides information on where drainage systems could be overwhelmed by intense rainfall.

The map takes into account local landscape features and historic weather patterns to provide a risk rating of “very-low”, where the chance of flooding is less than 1 in 1000, to “high”, where the chance of flooding of greater than 1 in 30.

It uses new modeling techniques to predict rainwater flows and is one of the most sophisticated examples of its type, according to the Environment Agency.

“Last week’s storm surge brings into sharp focus how important it is that people know if they could be affected by flooding,” said Paul Leinster, chief executive at the agency. “Being prepared can save lives, homes, personal possessions and businesses.

“We have used cutting edge technology to map areas at risk of surface water flooding in England. These maps are now amongst the most comprehensive in the world.”

Previously the agency estimated that 3.8 million homes and businesses in England were at risk of surface water flooding, however, the improved mapping has seen that figure fall to around 3 million.

In 2007, major flooding incidents saw 35,000 properties affected by surface water. The new map will not only help businesses and homeowners understand the risk posed to their properties, but will support local authorities in deploying flood protection measures, says the agency.

Aidan Kerr, head of property at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Accessing accurate, up-to-date information on surface water flood risk will help businesses take steps to reduce the often devastating, and expensive impact of flooding.”

Figures from the Environment Agency released last month confirmed that extreme weather costs businesses £200 million in 2012, with damage to commercial property and contents alone totalling £84 million.

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