Flooding of the River Lune at Lancaster Quay, Lancashire
Flooding of the River Lune at Lancaster Quay, Lancashire © Environment Agency
Flooding of the River Lune at Lancaster Quay, Lancashire © Environment Agency

Are You at Risk of Flooding?

Estimates suggest that 5.5 million properties in England are at risk of some sort of flooding. A common misconception is that a building is only at risk of flooding if it is near water but there are other sources that can become a flood risk. Knowing if you are at risk and the type of flood risk you face helps with planning suitable measures to reduce potential damage.

Types of flood risk

Surface water flooding is independent of overflowing water bodies and can be highly unpredictable. This is usually as a result of torrential rain and will overwhelm drainage systems. Urban areas can be particularly impacted as extensive hard surfaces prevents water being absorbed.

Groundwater flooding occurs when the water table emerges above ground level, including coming up through the floor. It usually happens gradually, after periods of prolonged or heavy rainfall.

River flooding is usually the result of heavy rainfall causing river levels to rise. Rivers vary in the way they cope with the additional water depending on their capacity and access to a flood plain.

Coastal flooding is caused by a combination of high tides, waves and storms. High tides usually occur in spring and again in autumn.

Buildings at the base of a steep valley will be impacted more severely by flooding as rainfall will run off the surrounding hillsides quicker. It can also result in severe landslides.

Compound flooding is less common and occurs when both coastal and river flooding happens simultaneously. It results in flood water affecting much larger areas and takes longer to drain away.

More information

For more information, see our technical guide below.

Next steps

If you have found you are at risk of flooding, it is important to plan ahead and put in measures to improve your home’s flood resilience. Even in low flood risk areas, there are steps you can take to be prepared in the event of water leaks and burst pipes. Find out how to protect your home