Residents to take flood prevention in own hands

Article date: 12 February 2002

Homeowners fear they are being let down by the government whenit comes to flood prevention, a new study reveals today.

Over three quarters of people say government - both local andcentral - should be doing more to prevent a repeat of the flooddevastation experienced by more than 10,000 homeowners in the last18 months.*

With recent heavy rain and flood warnings in place across thecountry, research from Norwich Union shows that over half ofresidents say they are ready to take the matter into their ownhands and lobby government in an attempt to better safeguard theirproperties.

But more than a third of people don’t know how to go aboutlobbying their local MP and government in campaigning forchanges.

To help residents and business owners, Norwich Union - whichitself is lobbying for better flood defences and planningregulations - is launching a new national campaign to encouragepeople to establish their own local flood action group.

The UK’s largest insurer will be giving advice andproviding local people with the knowledge to help them make a realdifference in the fight against floods.

Many high risk areas are still without adequate flood defencesand property developers continue to build on flood plains. This iswhy Norwich Union is encouraging property owners and businesses -both flood victims and people living in high risk areas – tojoin the ‘Home and Dry’ campaign and fight for betterflood defences and improved planning processes.

Announcing the initiative, Nick Pierson, head of householdproducts for Norwich Union, said: “There are almost twomillion residential and commercial properties at risk of floodingin England. Flooding is traumatic and causes widespread damage toproperty – we want to prevent floods happening in the firstplace, which is why we’re lobbying the government to takeimmediate action.

“Our research shows that more than 70 per cent of peoplebelieve they can make a real difference by lobbying in their localarea. The power of these individuals and small groups should not beunderestimated – if their voices are heard by the rightpeople, they have the potential to be very influential, and ourinformation pack aims to simplify the process and help them ontheir way.”

Norwich Union’s free ‘Home and Dry’ actionpack includes information about:

  • where responsibility lies locally and centrally for flood andcoastline defences
  • the role of a local flood action group
  • how to set up a local flood action group and attractmembers
  • how to contact local MPs and work with them
  • dealing with the media
  • practical tips for what to do in the event of a flood.

Peter Barnett, chairman of the National Flood Forum, said:“Part of the reason for setting up the National Flood Forumis to assist communities in establishing effective local groups andto provide a support structure for them.

“We believe that the best way for local communities tomitigate the effects of flooding is to work in co-operation withthe various agencies that are involved at local and national level.Norwich Union’s campaign will help at-risk communitiesunderstand the need for active local participation and we welcomethis initiative.”

For a free copy of Norwich Union’s Home and Dry actionpack, call 0800 093 0303


Press contact:
Anja Kueppers, Jane Wheeler or Matthew Buchanan at QBO on 020 73790304 or Liz Kennett/Jenny Chapman at Norwich Union on 08703 666863

Notes to Editors

  • Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to conduct anindependent survey of 1,000 homeowners and Continental Research toconduct a survey of 300 small to medium business owners. Bothsurveys were carried out in August 2001

* Source: Environment Agency ‘Lessons Learned’,March 2001

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market. It has afocus on insurance for individuals and small businesses. Itinsures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies, and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Member of the General Insurance Standards Council
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images is available from the CGNU Newscast siteat
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68
  • For further information and a copy of the ‘Home andDry’ action pack you can go on-line

For all life and pension media enquiries 08703 66 68 73 For allother media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

  • The National Flood Forum is a non-profit making organisationdedicated to reducing the suffering of people from flooding,conducting research on available remedies and disseminating goodpractice throughout the UK.

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