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1-in-13 new build homes located in flood zones

A new analysis has emphasised the vulnerability of Britain’s housing stock to extreme weather events. 

a building under construction with scaffolding around it

According to the report by Aviva, 8% of all newbuilds in England constructed over the past decade – 110,000 addresses – is located in a National Flood Zone Three, representing the highest risk of flooding. 

Overall, 19% of homeowners are concerned the location of their home is unsuitable because of flooding, and 50% believe climate change will impact where they live within the next decade. Almost 60% of respondents said they thought their house or flat was susceptible to flooding, compared to 41% of those living in properties finished before 2018.

The results have been published as Britain counts the cost of another winter in which wild and potentially dangerous weather events have been commonplace. Earlier this month, Environment Journal published an in-depth feature on UK flooding and insurance, which included the government-backed FloodRe scheme. Notably, homes built after 2008 are not covered by this, despite the fact almost 10% are located in places where flooding is likely.

‘It has been heartbreaking to see the devastation caused by flooding during recent winter storms. Sadly, some homes have flooded multiple times and inevitably, many affected properties will be on newer developments,’ said Jason Storah, CEO UK & Ireland General Insurance, Aviva.

‘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,’ he continued. ‘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.’

Beyond flooding, Aviva also found that 61% of homeowners are now worried about the effects of high temperatures on their house, and 62% have concerns about the potential impact of storms. This is understandable, given 18% of those living in properties built after 2018 have reported storm damage, with round one-third fearful of the quality of workmanship and materials used in construction, and just under one-quarter are unsure as to how resilient the design and finished product is. 

‘Homes may have been built in unsuitable locations to standards which are unable to withstand flooding. 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.’

More on flooding: 

Property insurance premiums rocketing due to UK storm damage

Resilico: the flood defence app regulating mitigation, insurance and recovery

New flood resource assesses groundwater, 9m homes at risk this winter

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