Govt working on national standards for flood defences


The Government is trying to establish independent standards and a certification scheme for flood defences on properties Transport Network has been told, following concerns that millions in public funds could have been wasted on substandard works.

Flood relief experts warned that some firms were installing substandard flood defence products under a government grant scheme set up after the 2015/16 winter storms, which has paid out £14m to help protect 1,400 homes.


There are also concerns that local councils, who administer the grants, are not carrying out enough inspections, The Telegraph reports.

Environment department Defra informed Transport Network that it is working closely with industry to explore options around a set of standards for flood resilience products and their installation.

This was a central element of Defra’s Property Flood Resilience Action Plan, released in September last year.

The report recommends the creation of: 'Rigorous independent standards with proper certification processes, that enjoy support across the industry, so that consumers or householder have confidence in both the flood products they buy and the installation of them.'

However cash has already been paid out before such standards were established, leaving some experts concerns that vital flood defences could fail.

Sarah Marriott, managing director of the Flood Advisory Service, a not-for-profit organisation, told the Telegraph this was the ‘next PPI misselling scandal’.

She added that all firms carrying out such work should sign up to Kitemark certification overseen by the British Standards Institute.

Paul Hendy, a flood recovery specialist at the Carlisle Flood Recovery Centre, said: ‘The sheer numbers of products being installed means that there are concerns about the quality of the installation. However a lot of companies are putting out people who are not always professionally trained and as qualified as they could be.

‘What we want to see is a wet test once products have been installed. It will add time to the process but it will ensure that products are installed correctly.’

A spokesman for communities department DCLG said: ‘We don’t apologise for acting quickly to help those affected by the terrible floods and have paid out almost £300m to repair infrastructure.

‘However, payments to improve the flood resilience of homes should only be made once the work has been completed to a satisfactory standard, and we expect every council to have robust processes in place to inspect the quality of installations and follow-up on cases of poor workmanship.’

A spokesman for the Local Government Association declined to comment.

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