February 23

Homes Built on Flood Plains: Concerns Arise


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A recent analysis conducted by insurance giant Aviva has shed light on a concerning trend, revealing that nearly 110,000 new homes in England, equivalent to approximately one in 13, have been built in flood-prone areas over the last decade. Since 2013/14, a total of 1,355,330 new homes have been completed in England, with a notable eight percent, or 109,017 properties, situated in areas categorized as national flood zone three. This designation indicates the highest risk of flooding, raising significant concerns about the potential impact on these properties.

The findings from Aviva’s analysis underscore the need for increased scrutiny and awareness regarding the location and risk assessment of new housing developments. As the construction of homes in flood-prone zones continues, there is a growing imperative for comprehensive planning and mitigation measures to safeguard both property owners and the broader community from the potential consequences of flooding events.

Despite the construction of some properties in flood-prone areas, it’s important to note that certain homes may benefit from existing flood defence systems, while others may lack adequate protection. This analysis, focusing on properties built in England between 2009 and 2022, reveals that nearly 110,000 homes, or one in 13, fall within flood zone three, the highest risk category. It’s noteworthy that homes constructed in 2022/23 are not included in these figures as the data is not yet available.

Adding to the concern, these properties built since 2009 are not covered by the Flood Re reinsurance scheme established in 2016. This scheme aimed to enhance the affordability and accessibility of flood insurance for homes in high-risk areas, signaling potential challenges for homeowners in these specific properties.

Furthermore, a survey commissioned by Aviva delved into the perceptions of residents in homes constructed in the last five years. The findings reveal that 59% of respondents believe their property is at risk from flooding, a notable increase compared to the 41% of residents in homes built pre-2018 who share similar concerns. Additionally, 19% of respondents express the belief that the location of their home is unsuitable due to the perceived risk of flooding. These insights shed light on the potential impact on homeowners’ peace of mind and the challenges they may face in addressing flood-related issues.

Numerous newly constructed homes are grappling with issues as one in eight residents acknowledges their homes have been affected by flooding inside, and 16% have experienced floods in their gardens, according to recent research. The Aviva spokesperson expressed concern over witnessing the devastating impact of recent winter storms, especially since many affected properties are part of newer developments. The real worry emerges as almost 110,000 homes built in the last decade are located in flood-prone zones, placing both homeowners and tenants at significant risk. The absence of coverage under the Flood Re insurance scheme, coupled with potential insufficient flood resilience, raises serious concerns about the vulnerability of these recently built homes to repeated flooding, especially without adequate protective measures in place.

The spokesperson highlights the disheartening reality that these newly constructed homes are not covered by the Flood Re insurance scheme, leaving thousands of homeowners and tenants exposed to risk. The concern extends beyond the immediate risk of flooding, as many of these properties may lack adequate flood resilience measures. The precarious situation is compounded by the fact that these homes face the prospect of repeated flooding, with potential damage exacerbated by the absence of flood defenses. The spokesperson underscores the urgent need for proactive measures to address the vulnerabilities of these newly built homes and protect the well-being of the residents.

As the spokesperson emphasises, the scale of the issue becomes even more alarming when considering that these homes are not covered by the Flood Re insurance scheme. This means that the financial burden of potential damages and losses falls squarely on the homeowners and tenants. With the possibility of inadequate flood resilience measures, the vulnerability of these homes to repeated flooding poses a significant threat to the safety and security of residents. The spokesperson calls for a comprehensive approach to address the situation, including the implementation of protective measures and potential reconsideration of insurance coverage to ensure the well-being of those residing in these at-risk homes.

“It’s worrying that many newly-built homes have already suffered a flood within five years of construction. This suggests the homes may have been built in unsuitable locations to standards which are unable to withstand flooding. But the research reveals wider concerns about construction which could leave these homeowners and tenants at risk from other climate events, including hot, dry weather.

“If we are to prevent more scenes of devastation caused by extreme weather, we need to work collectively to change where and how we build. By building houses that are climate-ready and able to withstand the multiple impacts of climate change we can provide safe and sustainable homes for our future generations.”



Aviva UK, Flood Plains, Homes Built on Flood Plains: Concerns Arise, New House Builds

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