Yorkshire Property Flood Resilience Effectiveness Surveys

Over the course of the Yorkshire Flood Resilience Pathfinder Project, we focussed on the main factors that determine the effectiveness of Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures. 

To gather evidence of this and to better understand the current standard of existing PFR measures we created and developed PFR Assured – a prototype online GIS database that maps existing PFR installations across Yorkshire. 

Community engagement

We engaged with local authorities from across Yorkshire that had identified communities where PFR schemes had been delivered, or where Defra Recovery Grants had been available. Leeds City Council and Bradford Council also posted letters to properties that had previously benefitted from PFR schemes or flood grants to outline the details of the Yorkshire Pathfinder project. These residents were also invited to get in touch with us to schedule a PFR effectiveness survey.

PFR effectiveness surveys

When planning the PFR effectiveness surveys we were able to be flexible in our approach and offered residents a choice of engagement options – either an online questionnaire or an on-site survey. 

Online questionnaire

Our online questionnaire was sent to residents across Yorkshire and was designed to give us a better understanding of a property’s flood history, as well as any details of any existing PFR products that had been installed. The questionnaire also gave residents the opportunity to assess how confident they were in using their PFR measures, whether the measures had been deployed previously and if they had performed effectively in a subsequent flood event. 

Onsite surveys

We visited various properties across Leeds and Bradford and were able to see products that had previously been installed. Photographs were taken of the products in situ and the residents provided an account of how they have found using the products. Many of the residents we met with were positive about their products and commented on how having the products installed has made them feel more prepared for future flood events. 

Through carrying out the onsite surveys we were able to establish that some residents were receiving regular maintenance visits, and that some also had maintenance contracts in place to ensure their products remained effective. 

“I turned my sump pump off during a minor flood event and saw how quickly the water rose in my cellar without it. This assured me that the product does its job.” Anonymous resident, Bradford

In contrast we also learnt that some residents had struggled to have their products checked and properly maintained. We were also able to identify various examples of products not being maintained or stored correctly; increasing the likelihood that they would not perform as intended during a future flood event. 

The outcome

The data collected from the effectiveness surveys were added to our bespoke PFR Assured database, with each property allocated an assurance rating of Red, Amber or Green. The final scoring was completed by the survey team according to their own interpretation of the data available. 

The following is a description of each category:

  • Redsub-standard or defective PFR installation and/or measures / serious maintenance requirements
  • Ambersome components of PFR package missing or maintenance required/ not signed up to EA flood warning service/ no emergency plan in place
  • Green – full suite of correctly used maintained & stored products/ signed up to EA flood warning service/emergency plan in place

Our initial summary of properties in Leeds indicated that:

  • 18.6% of properties have been allocated red
  • 58.1% of properties have been allocated amber
  • 4.7% of properties have been allocate green
  • 18.6% of properties are currently unassigned a rating

These early indications highlight the importance of improved maintenance and in some instances installation standards. It is hoped that the data collected through PFR Assured from surveys and communication within Bradford and Leeds will provide the councils with an overview of the current health/condition and levels of preparedness of the PFR measures provided and any issues associated with their past usage, maintenance and storage. When complete, this will help to form an evidence base in support of future schemes, the need for PFR maintenance programmes and more regular audits and test exercises, to ensure communities are prepared and PFR measures remain effective.

Want to know more?

For more information about independent property flood risk surveys and the Yorkshire Flood Resilience Pathfinder please email Shelley Evans. You can also find out more about Property Flood Resilience by visiting our dedicated webpage here.

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