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Different types of flooding in the UK

Floods in the UK may be rare, but they can have devastating consequences for those who are affected by them. According to Flood Guidance, 1 in 6 UK homes is at risk of flooding and, when flooding does happen, both homeowners and business owners alike can be left dealing with major damage to their properties and having to claim for flood damage on their business or home and contents insurance.

There are different reasons for flooding and several sources that could cause a flood in the UK – and they don’t always affect properties near rivers or seas. Understanding the different types of flooding in the UK will help you take the relevant steps to reduce any damage should the worst happen in your area. Here are some of the different types of flooding in the UK:

Coastal flooding

While not all flood risks pose a threat to properties located near water, coastal flooding is a particular threat to homes and other buildings by the sea. As an island, the UK has a large coastline, which puts a significant number of properties at risk of coastal flooding. Coastal flooding usually occurs when heavy storms or other extreme weather conditions combine with high tides to make the sea levels rise much higher than usual.

River flooding

Another type of flooding that affects properties near water is river flooding. River flooding is more common than coastal flooding in the UK and happens when the river’s flow overtops its banks. This can happen for a number of reasons but it is usually caused by prolonged rain. It can also happen if the river gets blocked for any reason.

Groundwater flooding

Groundwater flooding isn’t as common as river flooding in the UK, but can still cause significant damage to homes and businesses. Groundwater flooding occurs when increased rain levels cause the water levels below ground to rise above the surface. Groundwater flooding affects several hundred properties in the UK and can last for weeks or months at a time.

Surface water flooding

Surface water flooding is a type of flooding that can affect properties all over the country – not just those situated near rivers or the sea. This type of flooding occurs after a period of heavy rainfall, when the rain water cannot drain away. This can be due to blocked drains, rainwater running off roads or a number of other reasons.

Sewer flooding

While homes and businesses in the UK are rarely affected by sewer flooding because of measures put in place by local councils and private companies, it still poses a small risk to properties throughout the country. Sewer flooding happens when the sewage system fails or does not have a high enough capacity to handle heavy rainfall or other water from another type of flooding. Not only is sewer flooding unpleasant, it can also be a particularly dangerous type of flooding because of the high levels of bacteria that can be spread because of it.

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