Residents are being encouraged to prepare for winter weather and act now so they are in a position to survive any festive floods in the borough.
Over five million homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding so the message is don’t assume it won’t happen to you.
Back in 2015, unprecedented weather saw more than a month’s rainfall fall in the space of 24 hours on Boxing Day – with damage to the borough’s highway infrastructure, homes and businesses.
Wigan Council wants to make sure the borough is better prepared and more resilient every year to ensure any losses or damage are minimised and the best way to do that is to take preventive steps rather than reacting to unforeseen extreme weather.
Coun Paul Prescott, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s important that residents don’t assume they won’t be affected when it comes to heavy rainfall and floods. By planning in advance, you will be better prepared to respond in an emergency and better equipped to recover in the long-term.
“Preparation is even more crucial if you know your property is in a flood zone. Please sign up to the Environment Agency flooding warning system and make sure you have insurance to cover any damage caused by flooding if this is case.”
According to the Environment Agency, the average cost of flooding to a home is around £30,000. But, crucially, taking steps to prepare for heavy rainfall and flooding, and knowing what to do in these events can significantly reduce the damages to a home and possessions (by around 40%), reduce risk to life, and reduce the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future.
You can check whether your property is at flood risk by contacting the Flood Advisory Service.
Coun Prescott added: “Much like the advice we are giving to households, our highway teams are making sure to continue repair and refit vital infrastructure so the borough is more resilient. The next 12 months will see highway teams taking on a major project repairing 276 of its highway drainage assets, to not only improve the road network but alleviate flooding pressures to protect our communities and reduce the future flood risk.”
Tips for protecting yourself from flooding:
- Register with the Environment Agency for flood warning alerts
- Clean out your rainwater goods and drains – in particular remove leaf fall from grid covers
- Think about investing in property flood protection such as the installation of flood guards or flood doors, more information available from The Flood hub. These will be a better investment than buying and storing your own sandbags which aren’t a particularly effective defence against flooding.
- Check your insurance cover
- Develop a personal flood plan
If flooding occurs:
- Don’t drive, cycle or walk through standing flood water if you aren’t sure of the depth
- Don’t enter or swim in flood water
- Make sure you have sandbags ready
- Turn off all electrical items if your property is flooded
- Move your belongings upstairs if your property is flooded