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Why are flood risks in the UK rising?

We are used to hearing about climate change almost daily, but what does it actually mean for UK residents? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t an entirely positive one. With global temperatures on the rise, the risk of flooding in UK homes is increasing. If temperatures continue to rise in the way they are predicted to, the risk will only grow greater.

Sadly, we have already begun to see the devastating effects that increased flooding can have on families and their homes. Last year and early this year, flash floods and heavy rains left residents all over the country having to abandon their homes with little notice.

How much has flooding increased in the UK?

According to the Met Office, this February was the wettest February we have ever seen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the second wettest February on record for Scotland. During this month, the record rainfall resulted in record river levels and flooding in several areas of the country.

Sadly, February wasn’t an anomaly. Rainfall has been on the increase for a while, with the recent decade facing 4% more rainfall over a five day period compared to 1961-1990. The UK is only getting wetter and now sees 17% more rain during the wettest days.

Why is the risk of flooding rising in the UK?

At the end of last year, we saw severe flooding along the Don after the river burst its banks. While this was partly due to a day of heavy rainfall, it was made worse by increased river flow. With trees being cut down further up river in the Peak District, less water is being held back in the uplands and therefore more of it makes its way downstream. The result is higher than usual river levels, making the river more prone to flooding. This is a change that’s being mirrored across the country, with rivers more prone to bursting than before.      

In coastal areas, rising sea levels are contributing to rising flood risks. With global temperatures predicted to rise between 2C and 4C in coming years, current flood defences may not be enough.

The growing UK population is also contributing to the increased risk of flooding in the UK. With new homes being built rapidly, it’s estimated that around 10% of them are in high flood areas.

Is your home at risk of flooding?

If you’re not sure if your home is at risk of flooding, you can find out using the government’s online service. If there is a flood risk in your area, you’ll also be able to sign up for flood alerts.

Whether your home is a high risk or not, it’s a good idea to be aware of the best action to take before, during and after a flood. While you may not be able to prevent a flood, you can prepare your home and your family to respond and deal with a flood as quickly as possible.

If you do suffer a flood in your home, you can also use our Loss Assessor services to make a claim on your home insurance. Click here to find out more about getting help with your flood claim.

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