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21 Apr 2022 < Back

Property Flood Protection works - so why don’t we buy it?

We have been looking closely at a number of challenges and opportunities that sit around retrofit over the last few weeks. The thing that strikes me is how two loosely related challenges have so very much in common. The Government is committed to the delivery of energy saving insulation, microgeneration and carbon saving efficiencies. The need to save the planet and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is real and manifests in Government policy and international treaties. One of the outcomes of burning fossils is the release of carbon dioxide. This has caused global warming and increased the risk of flooding. The Government is committed to encouraging the adoption of flood resilience in order to make us better prepared to face the future. We know it works, yet why aren't we buying it?

Independent reports highlights the need to accelerate

In 2016, Peter Bonfield produced two separate reports for Government. Having read both, “Each Home Counts” (energy) and “The Property Flood Action Plan” (flooding), it seemed pretty clear that they came from the same bloke who was working on them both at the same time. As well as both reports having similar recommendations when it comes to the creation of complex and slightly convoluted systems, to assure quality and the need for lots of consultants to keep an eye on contractors, they both highlight the need to accelerate the adoption stuff by the public as well as Government. Unfortunately, almost 7 years from the publication, neither retrofit or property flood protection have captured the imagination of us homeowners.

Will homeowners embrace it?

It is my opinion that the retrofit market will start making inroads into privately owned homes pretty soon. If fuel costs and environmental ethics don’t drive it, then it seems logical that the Government will find a bigger carrot...or if that doesn’t work, a bigger stick! Tax incentives and primary legislation forcing our hand is just a matter of time and timing in my view. Flood protection is far less easy to fund or legislate for, but no less important to those who run out insurance options when FloodRe finishes in 2039. Perhaps what we will see is a continuation of incentives and bits of grant money to help fund flood resilience after buildings are flooded. All good. However, is it going to make people who might flood, be more aware of what is available, the benefit of it, or incentivise them to spend their own money in anticipation of a flood that may never happen?

We "get it", but what about everyone else?

So here is the thing. Bonfield and his reports have run their course. We know flood resilience and resistance gets people back in their homes faster and saves vast amounts of money and energy rich resources. What is needed now is a new and serious look at how flood protection is incentivised, or mandated, at local, regional, national and international level. I had an invite to another posh do in London this week (but couldn't attend unfortunately) to chat politely about flood resilience with lots of lovely people who "get it" already. A way now needs to be found to help everyone else in the country “get it” too...

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