AFTER Sussex was deluged by rain, hundreds of extra homes and businesses in the South East are to receive free flood warnings as the Environment Agency extends its automatic warning system.
More than 250 properties in flood risk areas went on the list in July, with many more due to be added in the coming months.
The extra homes are being added to an ‘opt-out’ scheme designed to boost the number of properties receiving the service as part of the Environment Agency’s continued investment in flood warnings.
It pledged to increase the number of homes receiving free flood warnings by 180,000 by the end of 2015.
A message is sent directly to householders if flooding from rivers or the sea is expected to affect their property.
Peter Quarmby, Regional Flood and Coastal Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The extended roll out of the opt-out scheme will have a significant benefit for residents in the South East who are not currently taking advantage of our free flood warnings system.
“One in six properties is at risk of flooding and receiving early warnings will give people vital time to prepare, which in turn will help protect lives and property – I would urge anyone who lives in or has a business in a flood risk area to sign up to our free service, Floodline Warnings Direct, where it’s available.”
The extension of the Environment Agency’s flood warning service was a key recommendation from the independent Pitt Review into the summer 2007 floods. The Environment Agency is also continuing to expand the number of areas eligible for the free service.
June 2012 was the wettest on record, while in July parts of England and Wales received more than the average monthly rainfall in less than 24 hours, causing many rivers across the country to rise to record levels.
However, tens of thousands of properties received an automated warning, giving homeowners the chance to take action in advance to protect their homes and belongings from floodwater.
Householders and properties that are signed up to the opt-out service will receive warnings by telephone only but are able to upgrade.