Community and stakeholder engagement 

The Environment Agency’s Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Scheme at Middle Medway Flood Resilience Scheme involved extensive community engagement. Our Flood Resilience team worked with them and other members of the Medway Flood Partnership to raise awareness of the scheme. 

Engagement work included door-knocking on properties to speak directly with property owners, organising several initial engagement and public drop-in events, as well as attending parish council meetings and meeting with local flood groups and flood wardens. 

JBA supporting homeowners inputting their property flood resilience measures
Homeowners inputting their property flood resilience measures

A history of flooding in Medway

Over 900 properties were flooded in 2013 – the most recent flood to affect the Medway catchment. Shortly after this event, the Medway Flood Partnership was formed by the Environment Agency and the Middle Medway Flood Resilience Scheme began in late 2017. 

The nature of flooding within the Medway catchment in Kent is varied and complex. Local communities are at risk of flooding from several main rivers (including the Rivers Medway, Beult and Teise) along with their tributaries, as well as from rising groundwater and surface water.  

Developing relationships

‘High level’ surveys were conducted by our Flood Resilience team in the initial stage of the scheme. Discussing the local flood risk and history with property owners, as well as conducting brief property surveys to determine the structure of the building, allowed us to determine the suitability of properties for individual property-level or community-wide level PFR measures 

Homeowner and contractor following final property flood resilience measures being installed
Homeowner and contractor following final property flood resilience measures being installed

Providing an opportunity to discuss the scheme with property owners, the surveys allowed us to answer their questions about the local flood risk and home insurance – including FloodRe. We were able to explain the different types of PFR measures available and their benefits whilst gauging property owners’ interest in participating in the scheme. 

 

Property flood resilience measures

More detailed PFR surveys, at properties where owners had expressed their interest, were conducted in stage two of the scheme. During these surveys our team identified each property’s several floodwater ingress routes which was then used to produce a report for the Environment Agency and property owner on the most suitable PFR measures for these entry points. The property’s construction, sources of flooding and the owner’s personal preferences were also taken into account.  

Post PFR installation audits will be carried out by the flood resilience team ahead of the scheme’s completion, ensuring all recommended products are present and correct. The owners understanding of how to maintain and implement the products will also be assessed to ensure the greatest benefit and effectiveness is achieved from the scheme. Post Installation Audit reports, which will be developed for the property owners, will be able to be sent to their insurance company for potential lower insurance premiums. 

Defra property flood resilience action plan – enabling uptake

The Flood and Coast Conference on 20-22 March will see Sara Lane, Senior Analyst in our property flood resilience team, present on ‘Property flood resilience – enabling uptake’. Sara’s presentation will feature in the Property Flood Resilience session at 11.15am on day two of the conference.  

The Defra Property Flood Resilience Action Plan is progressing a range of themes aimed at encouraging better uptake of resilience measures for properties at high flood risk. This will be hugely beneficial to individuals, families and businesses alike. It will help to both significantly reduce flood damages and provide greater peace of mind to those communities where traditional forms of flood alleviation have not been feasible.  

Sara’s presentation will explore the challenges that we face in achieving these objectives by drawing on the evidence available from community property flood resilience schemes, such as the above Medway example, as well as post-flood grants like that which followed Storm Desmond.  

Levels of public awareness, the language we use and how property flood resilience is delivered are key factors that can act as barriers affecting take-up. Simply increasing take-up will be of no value without listening to the needs of property owners or insurers, and without developing and adopting best practice standards in flood risk assessment, product design, installation and ongoing aftercare. By addressing these barriers we have a greater opportunity to enable people to better prepare their homes and businesses for future floods, empowering communities to manage the impact that flooding has on their lives and livelihoods. 

Want to know more?

Email?Sara Lane?for more information on her Flood and Coast presentation. You can speak to our experts at the conference too on stand C5 where you can see demonstrations of our Physical Augmented Relief Model. 

You can also find out more on our flood resilience web page including information on property flood resilience and flood emergency planning. 



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