Increased flood risk as Storm Christoph sweeps in

21st January 2021

For most of us, Storm Christoph will bring wind, rain and a short interruption to our daily lockdown walks. But for a few it will bring major disruption, heartbreak and long-term consequences.

Properties are currently flooding across the country due to rising water levels. There are nearly 100 active flood warnings in England and residents are being evacuated from the worst affected areas. Many more property owners continue to monitor river levels in their areas so they can make the decision about whether to leave or remain. In the middle of a pandemic, these decisions are even harder to make.

The Environment Agency, local authorities and emergency services will work tirelessly over the next few days, doing what they can to protect life and property. As more flood defences are completed, more homes and businesses remain dry. But there is still much to do to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Flooding is difficult to predict and even more difficult to prevent. There are several variables which all play their part; rainfall figures, groundwater levels, weather conditions and even where the rain falls in any catchment. It is not uncommon for flooding to occur in properties which have not flooded before. Rising groundwater can cause water to bubble up through floors of buildings which are nowhere near rivers and streams.

Property owners have a right to take steps to protect their property but must not do anything which harms neighbouring properties or directly causes them to flood. Property owners also have a ‘measured duty of care’ to others to take steps to prevent flooding on neighbouring land. This could include keeping drains clear, allowing water to pass freely and keeping structures in good condition.

A breach of this measured duty of care can lead to claims for flood damage.  In a recent case, blocked and overgrown roadside drains caused water to run across the road and into neighbouring homes. In another case, a piece of metal jammed a flap valve in the open position and river water ran back up drains and flooded playing fields and residents’ gardens.

If your property is at risk of flooding and you need advice, or if believe you have been flooded or suffered damage as a result of something that has gone wrong on someone else’s land, give us a call to discuss your options. We all need to do what we can to limit the impacts of rising rainfall levels and more frequent flood events.

If you’ve experienced storm damage or flooding, we’re here to help – get in touch.

Craig Burman appeared on BBC Radio Bradford recently, speaking about the topic. Have a listen below.


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