Property Level Flood Protection Grant Schemes

More often than not in the wake of a flood, the government’s response is to issue grants of up to £5000.00 to homes and businesses that have been affected by flooding. The grant can be used for implementing flood resilience measures such as raising electrical sockets, concreting sub floors and making the property easier to clean after the event of a flood. It can also be used for property level protection on products that can be passive protection in the way of flood resilient doors, automatic barriers, non-return valves and automatic closing air bricks. Reactive protection is also an option in the form of slot in barriers, smart sand bags, air brick covers and toilet bungs. The installation of these sorts of measures brings great peace of mind to the traumatised residence and business owners to help protect against future events.

The local authorities all have a slightly different way of delivering the grant schemes in terms of how many quotes are needed to put with the application and more importantly how the funds are distributed. These are in most cases something that the end user and the contractor can usually get around. This is something that going forward would benefit from a universal system of payment so that the end user and the contractor know exactly where they stand removing any confusion. This would encourage manufactures that no longer carry out installation work to get back in to providing contractors to carry out more work.

End users often find it difficult when they require three quotes to put with their application. With the lack of professional property level flood protection companies in the country combined with how wide spread flooding is, it is not always possible for companies to travel the length of the country to provide a survey and a quote to carry out the works. This results in delays in applications, calls backwards and forwards between local authorities and end users causing more stress and sometimes leads to work not being undertaken. This could be easily solved if there was a list of approved property level flood protection contractors that the local authorities could use to make it easier for them to approve applications resulting in more people getting help.

The lack of media coverage that the grant scheme gets results in a low uptake. Residence and business owners often don’t get to know about any help that is available until the deadline has passed. Some local authorities reportedly only saw a very small percentage of eligible properties take up the grant scheme. With budget cuts the way they are, there just isn’t the funding in the local authorities budgets to find money to spend on promoting the grants availability. To try and combat this Crocodile Flood Solutions have held several meetings in village halls to promote the grant scheme in conjunction with local authorities and flood wardens. This has had a positive effect in the uptake of the grant resulting in more people being protected against future flooding events.

After the devastating floods in Cumbria on Boxing Day of 2015 Crocodile Flood Solutions opened up a flood advice centre in Carlisle. This has given Cumbrian residence a place where they can visit and physically see the products that are available to help protect them against flooding. We have found that people from all over Cumbria travel to the advice centre for many different reasons. Some come just to check out the range of products on offer, where as others come to get help in filling in grant forms and making sure that they have all of the relevant paperwork to submit their application. This has worked very well with the local authorities, enabling more people to get applications granted efficiently, and leading directly to more residence and businesses having property level flood protection in place.

With the massive change in climate for the United Kingdom, flooding is happening on a much more regular basis than ever before. Consideration needs to be given to the future of the property level protection industry. Currently there are no industry specific official standards for the installation of products or services that are offered. Crocodile Flood Solutions is working hard alongside the vocational collage to put together a certified recognisable qualification. The qualification will be industry specific on how a property is surveyed in relevance to fitting property level protection products, enabling local authorities to have confidence in survey reports done by specifically trained surveyors. There will be a second qualification for the installation of the full range of products that are currently available in today’s market place, with scope to add to the qualification as the industry evolves. Hopefully with some kind of recognised standard within the industry, local authorities and government can have confidence in investing in more property level protection schemes, especially on media coverage knowing that it will be cost efficient.

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