Businesses and households warned to prepare for possible flooding this winter

24 November 2021

The Environment Agency (EA) is warning businesses and households across the UK to prepare for flooding, as Met Office predicts above average rainfall this winter.

New analysis revealed by the Environment Agency shows that over 60% of households living in flood risk locations do not believe they are vulnerable to flooding, amounting to around 1.5 million households and many local businesses, who are at risk,

The analysis has been released at the start of Flood Action Week (22–28 November 2021), when the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings.

Caroline Douglass, Executive Director of Flooding at the Environment Agency, said people need to be “vigilant, not complacent”, about 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.”

Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF) says over five million homes and businesses are at risk of flooding in the Liverpool region alone. To prepare for flooding this winter the multi-agency partnership has set up its own WeatherReady website and campaign to raise awareness of the actions people and businesses can take to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of severe weather. 

The EA is encouraging those at risk to follow the advice to “Prepare. Act. Survive”, specifically:

  • if there is a flood alert: prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.

  • if there is a 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 999 if needed

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.”

Further government guidance on how to plan ahead for flooding is available on the government website here.