0 Facebook to connect communities at risk of flooding

A new support network for those affected by and at risk of flooding has been created on Facebook.

Flood Group UK is a new page to help communities at risk of flooding to support each other. The group is being launched today by government organisations and flood forums from across the UK.

With around 5.4 million properties in the UK at risk of flooding, it is important that individuals and communities take steps to prepare themselves for flooding as winter approaches.

Flood Group UK enables communities to share information, experiences and advice about flooding. It also contains a flood directory with information on how to find out if you are at risk of flooding, how to sign up for free flood warnings and what simple steps you can take to protect your property.

This initiative is being overseen by the Environment Agency and is supported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Rivers Agency of Northern Ireland, the National Flood Forum, the Scottish Flood Forum and the Cockermouth Flood Action Group.

Phil Rothwell, Head of Flood Strategy at the Environment Agency said: "Floods can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and many months of heartache and disruption.

"This damage can be dramatically reduced when a community comes together to prepare for flooding by keeping people up to date with latest in warnings or flood protection products, sharing experiences or by helping to make small changes to homes to reduce the impact of flooding.

"We hope that Flood Group UK becomes a vibrant and active virtual community linking people with experience or knowledge of flooding. You may not have been flooded for ages but in areas at risk of flooding, a flood can be just around the corner.

Heather Shepherd, Flood Community & Recovery Support Specialist from the National Flood Forum said: "Sharing ideas, experiences and information amongst communities that have either suffered flooding, or are at risk of flooding, can help enormously.

"It's helpful to know how other communities and individuals have worked to reduce their flood risk and planned to lessen the impact should they be unfortunate enough to suffer a flood."

Flood Group UK can be found at www.facebook.com/floodgroupuk.

Facts about flooding:
• Around 5.4 million properties in the UK are at risk of flooding.
• One in six properties in England and Wales are at risk of flooding*.
• One in 20 residential and one in 13 business properties in Scotland are at risk.
• In Northern Ireland, 1 in 18 properties are at risk of flooding from rivers and seas.
• Every £1 spent on protecting communities from flooding saves £8 spent repairing damage*.
• The devastating floods in summer 2007 cost a total of £3.2bn, including more than £2bn to homeowners and businesses and 400,000 lost pupil days. On average, the cost of the damage per home flooded was between £23,000 and £30,000. The average cost incurred per flooded business was between £75,000 and £112,000*.
• Floods can happen at any time of the year, but persistent rainfall during winter months increases the risk.

Visit www.facebook.com/floodgroupuk to join the discussion and find out what you can do to prepare for flooding.

Keep in touch with the Environment Agency: For the latest news, images and videos follow us at www.twitter.com/envagency, www.facebook.com/environmentagency, www.flickr.com/environment-agency and www.youtube.com/environmentagencytv.

For more information on flooding in the UK, visit:

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Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037

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