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Huge concerns being raised about the apparent lack of flood awareness by homeowners

Flooding might be at the forefront of the minds of insurers, but it seems that about 35% of homeowners have not given the matter any thought. With the country being once again in the centre of yet another storm to arrive at our shores, land agent Aston Mead is urging people to forget the notion that sandbags with keep the floodwaters at bay. Whilst they may help to hold back water for a short period, clearer thinking is needed.

The main cause for concern relates to homes built on floodplains, which as the name implies are subject to flooding as water from rivers flows over the banks. Building on floodplains is running at the rate of around 10,000 per year and one new home in every 14 built is on put onto land that is designed to flood, either from the sea or rivers, with one in three homeowners being unaware whether their home is on a floodplain or not.

The director of land agents Aston Mead has come up with a radical solution for homes built on floodplains, which might sound extreme, but can provide a solution for homes being built on these areas. We are all aware that there is a shortage of building land available, so using these areas of land can provide many much needed new homes.

The idea behind Mr Richard Watkins plan is for homes to float up and down when needed by making best use of the technology already available. The homes would be built on top of a pre-cast pontoon sitting inside an excavated concrete void. When water enters the void, the home sitting on its concrete pontoon rises guided by vertical rails, these could be sited within the walls. When the water eventually recedes, the home will return to its original level, after water is pumped from the void.

Accessing the home would be by an articulated pathway and the services would be supplied to the home by using flexible joints. The use of pontoons have been with us in a maritime context to allow passenger and freight vessels to moor safely as the tide rises and falls, the home on a pontoon is the same principle.

Floodwater entering a home can be devastating, electrical appliances being one of the many items that will be rendered useless if filled with floodwater. A survey which was carried out by Appliances Direct came up with similar results to Aston Meads showing unawareness by 35% of people asked if they knew whether their home was at risk of flooding. Not knowing how to tackle it admitted by 21% and 14% not knowing which emergency service they should contact should it happen.

Recent Met Office figures revealed that December 2015 was the wettest month ever recorded in the UK, with almost twice the amount of average rainfall and more storms hit the country in January and already in February. Resorting to sandbags will not solve the problem.

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