Environment Agency urges farmers to prepare for flood risk

The Environment Agency has urged farmers and rural businesses to take action after the Met Office warned of an above average likelihood of a wet winter.

Nearly two in three households at risk of flooding don’t believe it will happen to them, according to new analysis revealed by the agency on Tuesday (23 November).

The research shows that people who haven’t prepared for flooding are in the minority (30%), but this still means that as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.

The new analysis has been released at the start of Flood Action Week, when the agency is urging people to check their flood risk online and sign up for flood warnings.

Farmers and rural businesses are being encouraged to take action to help prepare themselves and their properties for possible flooding.

The Met Office’s outlook shows there is an above average chance of the UK winter being wetter than normal over the next three months.

Caroline Douglass, executive director of flooding at the Environment Agency, said: "Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.

"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.

"It’s vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits."

The construction and repair of flood defences has continued this year as part of the record £5.2 billion government investment to bolster 336,000 properties.

These preparations have already helped to protect communities from flooding in late October, when parts of the country saw a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours.

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.

"Although these wetter conditions are most likely in January and February next year, details will become clearer nearer the time and information can be found on the forecast pages of our website."

How can I prepare for flooding?

Those at risk are encouraged to follow the Environment Agency's 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.

Source: Farming UK