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One in 13 new homes built in flood zone

Research has found that of the millions of homes that were built in England during 2013/14 one in 13 are in a national flood zone.

Aviva, a British multinational insurance company, have recently deep dived into new findings from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and discovered that 8% – equivalent to 109,017 new homes, face the highest risk of flooding in England.

yellow caution wet road sign on gray concrete road

Experts unveiled that in flood zone three, a area with the highest risk, there is a one in 100 or greater annual probability of river flooding or a one in 200 or greater annual probability of flooding from the sea in any year.

News of these figures being released, which can be found in full here, have also come just weeks after storms in England caused severe damage to people’s homes across the country. Storm Henk, one the latest storms that unleashed hell this winter, caused over 400 homes to be vandalised.

As a result of previous severe weather conditions, new homes are being advised to be constructed with better flooding protection.

‘It’s concerning that almost 110,000 new homes have been built in the last decade in a flood zone, leaving thousands of homeowners and tenants at risk,’ Aviva’s Jason Storah, chief executive for UK & Ireland general insurance, commented.

‘Crucially, these homes are not covered by the Flood Re insurance scheme and many may have been constructed without flood resilience. Not only are these newly built homes at high risk – they also face the prospect of repeated flooding and may not be protected by flood defences to prevent or limit flood damage.’

In addition to the data highlighting concerns over homes being built in high flood risk areas, it also outlined climate concerns. Almost two thirds (61%) of new home residents are concerned about the impact of heat on their home, compared with 46% of residents of homes that were built before 2018.

Storah added: ‘Insurance can play its part by restoring homes and offering financial reassurance, but it cannot replace cherished family possessions or prevent the emotional impact that floods bring. It is paramount that any future plans for new homes include strengthened rules to prevent the development of buildings in current and potential flood zones. But in some low-lying parts of the country, this is more difficult. In these cases, flood resilience should be made mandatory in planning rules and built in from the outset.’

Various new build homes have experienced some damage since they were built. According to the research, one in eight new build residents say their home has been affected by flooding inside and 16% have suffered flooding issues in the garden. However, researchers revealed new homes are not just at risk from flooding but wider construction problems.

26% have suffered a water leak; 18% have been damaged by storms and 15% have been affected by subsidence, severe movement, or tree damage.

‘It’s worrying that many newly-built homes have already suffered a flood within five years of construction. This suggests the homes may have been built in unsuitable locations to standards which are unable to withstand flooding,’ Storah said. ‘But the research reveals wider concerns about construction which could leave these homeowners and tenants at risk from other climate events, including hot, dry weather.’

Storah continued: ‘If we are to prevent more scenes of devastation caused by extreme weather, we need to work collectively to change where and how we build. By building houses that are climate-ready and able to withstand the multiple impacts of climate change we can provide safe and sustainable homes for our future generations.’

Research from the ONS notes that 2022/23 figures do not form part of the at-risk homes approximation as they aren’t available yet.

Image: Phillip Flores

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