Supporting the South West Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder project

Peter May, Associate Director looks at how we’re supporting property flood resilience in the south west of England.

The National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England, currently laid before Parliament, identifies ways to adapt to the threats from flooding and coastal change, to enable growth in a sustainable and climate resilient way. This includes a commitment for Risk Management Authorities to mainstream property flood resilience measures that reduce flood damages and enable faster recovery for local communities.

Flood sign

As part of this commitment, Defra announced £2.9m funding in 2019 for three Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder projects across the country.

The South West Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, led by Cornwall Council and supported by JBA Consulting, aims to increase awareness and enhance future take-up of PFR across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. A key element of the Pathfinder is understanding barriers to uptake and identifying incentives that will serve to drive behaviour change.

Property flood resilience measuresProperty flood resilience (PFR) has become an important element of flood risk management, providing cost-effective options to increase community resilience where traditional engineered flood defence schemes may not be viable.  These include includes resistance measures that aim to limit water entry (such as door barriers, pumps and non-return valves) and resilience measures to adapt a property to limit the damage caused if water does enter (such as raised electrics and waterproof plaster).  Both can be very effective at reducing the risk to people and property, enabling households and businesses to reduce the damage caused by floods and speed up recovery and reoccupation.

When delivered successfully, these measures can help engage homeowners and businesses in their flood risk, increasing flood awareness and providing effective options to respond to the risk with emergency flood response plans. These can help provide peace of mind, reducing stress, damage, financial loss and insurance claims.

The South West Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder includes all five Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) in the South West (Cornwall Council, Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly). With oversight from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, project partners also include the Cornwall Community Flood Forum and the Devon Community Resilience Forum.

We are supporting the project partners through a range of initiatives that aim to:

  • raise awareness and take-up of property flood resilience;
  • identify the barriers to take-up and provide materials and tools to demonstrate and promote the benefits of property level resilience;
  • develop local innovations to improve take-up of property flood resilience techniques;
  • simplify and streamline the process for PFR delivery;
  • increase the flood resilience of communities in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and
  • help establish a self-sustaining legacy, in the form of a professional hub for the future.BeFloodReady

As part of these initiatives a new campaign is being launched titled:  BeFloodReady

This simple message conveys what property flood resilience is all about!

We are working closely with community groups and professional partners developing a range of mobile and static demonstration centres, launching a website and social media campaign – all helping to raise awareness of property flood resilience.

The Environment Agency already has an established national PFR framework, providing easy access to qualified independent flood risk surveyors and property flood resilience product suppliers and installation contractors. Raising awareness of the framework, in tandem with the recent launch of the PFR Code of Practice, will also help to drive-up standards and consistency in quality across the country.  This will encourage the insurance industry to acknowledge the benefits of PFR and bring much needed help and relief to property homeowners and businesses across the South West.

Want to know more?

BeFloodReady will launch in August 2020 online and on social media, with regional promotion on commercial radio, kick-starting a series of events and tours across the South West from September 2020.

You will be able to follow the #BeFloodReady campaign on Twitter: @BeFloodReady

Email Phil Emonson for more information about the South West Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder project.  You can also find out about flood resilience on Property Flood Resilience webpage.


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