Partnering with the Environment Agency in York


Over 100 houses and businesses in York that are at risk of a flood are receiving PFR measures worth around £1 million from the Environment Agency.

At FPS Environmental Ltd we are delighted to have assisted with the scheme, being appointed as the flood risk surveyors for the project.

York’s Experience

York has experienced extreme flooding on numerous occasions over the years, most recently in 2015 when more than 620 homes and businesses were submerged.

In response to the floods of 2015/16, the Environment Agency sought to better protect properties in York from the risk of flooding – an integral part of the York Flood Alleviation Scheme.

The EA appointed the Flood Technologies consortium with FPS as named subcontractor to review, complete & carry out a robust Hazard Assessment and Property Flood Resilience surveys at each property.

The project focussed upon resistance measures to inhibit flood water entering properties such as barriers, doors, automatic air bricks and non-return valves.

The eligibility for properties entering the scheme was assessed by the consortium; based on EA risk data & threshold levels. Property type was recorded e.g. if it was a detached, terraced, semi-detached, as these factors have an impact on the way a property can flood. Property status was identified, e.g.  if Grade 1 or 2 listed / located within a conservation area as this affected PFR measures allowable.

At FPS, we surveyed a total of 146 properties between August and November 2022, adopting the Source-Pathway-Receptor model when undertaking the Hazard Assessment. A questionnaire was sent out to the property owners of eligible properties, in order to better understand their experience, the impact and the mechanisms of flooding at their property.

The properties that met eligibility criteria progressed to having an FPS surveyor undertake a full on-site review to determine the optimal PFR solution. A diverse range of properties were surveyed including: residential, commercial, detached, semi-detached, terraced & Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings.

We undertook surveys utilising our specialist software which enabled our surveyors to scan each corner of the building, developing an accurate layout of the building dimension. A high tech BOSCH laser resolution scanner provided measurements to the exact millimetre. Icons such as doorways, routes of ingress, airbricks, downpipes, drains and manholes were added on the software, providing a visual of the property layout.

When undertaking the surveys, the FPS team determined three key objectives and actions:

Source: Understanding the weather events or conditions that result in flooding (e.g., heavy rainfall, rising sea level, waves, river flows etc), identify likely routes of ingress/ features of particular concern.

Pathways: The routes between source of flood waters and receptor, surface and subsurface flow across the landscape and drainage systems. Identify flood mechanisms at each property / is flood risk fluvial, surface water, groundwater, or from artificial sources – or a combination).

Receptors: The people, industries and built/natural environments impacted by flooding. Talk with property owner to understand flood issues at the property; what/if PFR measures they would incorporate based on budget/ lifestyle.

Our surveyors collaborated with the property owners, starting from first telephone contact, arranging a date/time for the survey, and answering queries. This informal chat allowed the surveyor to understand property flood history and owners’ concerns. Consultation was the second contact, consolidating our relationship with the property owner and providing expert reassurance onsite. This aided FPS understanding of various features and helped determine the suitable types of PFR measures for the property. At the end of the surveys, it was common for the property owners to ask questions to the surveyor with their thoughts regarding flood mitigation measures. Questions were always answered open and honestly with our professional experience. This transparency was always appreciated and led to friendly feedback.

For every property surveyed, a detailed report in accordance with the CIRIA Code of Practice for Property Flood Resilience, was produced within 10 working days. All reports were signed off by a Chartered Water & Environment Manager (MCIWEM C.WEM), demonstrating the highest commitment to exemplary standards.

Environment Agency Area Flood Risk Manager Paul Stockhill said:

“With our changing climate we are unable to eliminate the risk of flooding, but we can help communities be more resilient to it. We often build large scale defences to try and manage flood water, but sometimes property level measures might be appropriate. We hope that these measures will help to give these residents in York reassurance, helping ensure a flood does less damage and life can get back to normal much quicker.

Stanley Shoobridge, a resident in Acaster Malbis, York who is benefiting from the scheme, said:

“I’m very pleased with my new defences, and how easy they are to fit. In the past I’ve had to drag sandbags into position to try and protect my home. I don’t flood frequently, but when I do, I’m on an island and only people with waders can reach me. I’m 92 years of age and it’s now so much easier to put my new barrier into place.

Added Value:

Digital innovation is a key focus for FPS Environmental Ltd: including the use of software onsite to record property dimensions and routes of ingress. This allowed ease of data conversion to final pdf document, reducing duplication and human error. Photographic and video records also provided comprehensive data sources, saved to the cloud to reduce risk of lost data. Laser measures and surveyors trained to measure apertures and flood mitigation structures removed the need to return to site. GIS mapping to cluster and plan survey visits also reduced travel / carbon.

FPS Environmental Ltd’s extensive knowledge of drainage systems enabled our surveyors to better understand the drainage network and routes such that backflow protection could be better considered. In many cases, this removed the extra cost that a CCTV drainage survey would require.

Our robust approach ensured we could deliver the optimal outcome. With the company’s core values of honesty, integrity, building relationships and inclusivity. Our knowledgeable team has many years of experience working with flood-impacted communities and individuals across the country and we are mindful of the stress and mental health impacts this can cause.

“The FPS team are all were extremely friendly, professional, but most importantly understanding” John Mattinson, Floodtec Consortium.

Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your flood risk project.

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