Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Don’t underestimate the flood risk to your business

This November marks the 10th anniversary of the Great Autumn Floods of 2000 - the UK’s wettest period in since records began. Even as recently as last year, regions including Sheffield and Cumbria were devastated by floods.

Yet many businesses and organisations don’t appreciate the value of knowing their flood risk. With the onset of extreme weather events caused by global warming this risk and potential impact is likely to increase over time.

Above, map displaying EA Flood Zones in Great Yarmouth, East Anglia. Deep blue represents Flood Zone 3, light blue represents Flood Zone 2

It's easy to underestimate the impact of flooding without the right data, maps and intelligence. Many firms often associate hazardous flooding only with rivers and the sea; they don’t think that they’re at risk from surface water flooding. This can result from something as seemingly minor as a nearby ditch or stream. However, in the summer of 2007, sixty percent of insurance claims related to damage caused by flooding arising from surface water.

Those with business premises or who need to asses them have a number of maps, data and reports to help determine the likelihood that the building will sustain major damage in the event of flooding. These tools are essential for ascertaining whether the building is in an at-risk area and allowing precautions to be taken before  problems arise.

FIND offers Environment Agency (EA) and British Geological Survey (BGS) maps and data that can help determine flood risk. Much of this information is available to instantly download for the first time in the UK, you can also order information for small areas, making for a more efficient risk analysis.

EA and BGS data is viewable and printable online, or can be downloaded in DWG, DXF, TAB, and SHP formats. We also offer a variety of self contained reports.

See below for a compact summary of the flood risk information available.

Environment Agency / EA flood related maps and datasets

Flood constraints or Flood Zones - The EA Flood Zone maps are key to steering development toward areas of low flood risk. Flood Zone 2, for example, shows areas of land with an annual probability of flooding of 0.1% or greater from rivers and the sea, but with an annual probability of flooding of less than 1% from rivers or 0.5% from the sea. More info>

NaFRA / National Flood Risk Assessment - The Environment Agency's improved National Flood Risk Assessment (NaFRA) is the standard dataset for determining categories of flood risk in the insurance industry and is key in implementing the Association of British Insurers (ABI) flood agreement with the government. NaFRA provides an indication of flood risk by calculating the actual likelihood of flooding to areas of land within flood plains from an extreme flood (1 in 1000 in any given year). More info>

Historic Floods - The historic floods outline layer shows the individual footprint of every flood event recorded by the Environment Agency. It contains over 21,000 records going back to 1947. More info>

Flood Defences - EA record of the location, condition and design of flood defences in England and Wales that reduce the risk of flooding from main rivers and the sea. More info>

Flood Defended Areas - This dataset contains areas that benefit from flood defences during an event of equivalent magnitude to an event that would present a 1% annual chance of fluvial flood and 0.5% annual chance of tidal flood. More info>

Flood Storage Areas or FSA - Theses areas show zones that act as a balancing reservoir, storage basin or balancing pond. More info>

Detailed River Network / DRN - To assist in the duty of maintaining river quality in England and Wales, the EA have developed a fully attributed and topologically correct river network map, derived in part from OS MasterMap features. More info>

British Geological survey / BGS flood related maps and datasets

Groundwater Flooding -  BGS's Susceptibility to Groundwater Flooding information displays areas where geological conditions could allow groundwater flooding to occur, and where groundwater may come close to the ground surface. Flooding of this type often lasts longer than river flooding and can result in significant social and economic disruption. More info>

River and Coastal Flooding -  BGS’s Indicators of Flooding information is based on the Digital Geological Map of Great Britain at the 1:50 000 scale (DiGMapGB-50). This map shows the areas vulnerable to the two main types of flooding, inland floodplains and coastal plains / estuarine environments in Britain. More info>

Flood Risk reports

FloodInsight report from GroundSure - This is detailed data report for professionals assessing commercial flood risk. The GroundSure FloodInsight includes various detailed flood risk datasets including those from JBA for surface water (pluvial) flood risk; the Environment Agency and the British Geological Survey. More info>

Flood report from GroundSure - This provides clients with a cost-effective detailed assessment and understanding of the flood risk potential associated with residential property. More info>

For more information on our flood risk data go to our Flooding data package page or contact FIND support, tel : 0845 521 1410 or email:

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