Sedgwick helping to shape the future of UK flood resilience

In 2007, catastrophic flooding in the UK killed 13 people, saw 420,000 inhabitants left without drinking water and was estimated to have caused nearly £6 billion of damage. This disaster was the trigger for a number of insurance and government-led initiatives, aimed at not only dealing with the aftermath of flooding, but more proactively managing and reducing the risk.

With predictions of up to a month’s worth of rainfall today and flood warnings across the region, the question is not only how can we prepare for the immediate threat, but also what can be done to address flood trends in the longer term?

For those communities across the UK that are at risk of flooding, a Pathfinder project has been established by UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The project aims to work with key partners, including local flood authorities, to create professional hubs or demonstration sites. These hubs will provide training and other uptake activities to increase industry and public knowledge  to reduce the impacts of flooding.

DEFRA has recently announced that it will provide £2.9 million in funding for this Pathfinder project which will allow these communities to better understand and implement flood resilience measures. The project will run from September 2019 to March 2021. The Pathfinder project will develop three regional hubs across the country to promote and support the uptake of resilience at property level. The successful bids came from York, Northampton and Cornwall and they will be joined by other local authorities to cover a wider geographical area. Each area will receive around £700,000 each to boost research into property resilience measures.

Sedgwick are continuing to be involved in the development of flood resilience under this Pathfinder project and I personally serve on the resilience round table for part of the Pathfinder steering group. This roundtable will work with the projects in Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, and Central England to meet the joint objectives and promote property level resilience.

This project, along with the development of the code of practice, fits closely with Sedgwick’s strategic goals in making flood resilience a mainstream approach to flood risk. Through our years of experience and insight in managing water-related claims, our Sedgwick team have gained extensive knowledge on the best restoration solutions and how to minimise future threat and cost of flood claims. We work to help our clients deliver advice to their customers, and continue to make resilient repairs part of the flood reinstatement work.

The code of practice is currently being developed by the Construction Industry Research Information Association (CIRIA), as part of the strategy of the resilience round table and will be rolled out early in 2020. It will allow all parties commissioning, delivering and relying on flood resilience to have a clear best practice guide to rely upon.

I’m honoured to serve as part of the Pathfinder round table in finding solutions to address flooding and resilience now and into the future. If you’re looking for support through the current flood season, please connect with me at ian.gibbs@uk.sedgwick.com

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