Not only does it extend the number of areas estimated to be vulnerable to extreme flood events, but it also grades flood risk in any location by probability and suggests appropriate protective measures.

The revised flood map is part of the UK Environment Agency’s (EA) £30M (US$53M) five-year mapping initiative and replaces its predecessor; the ‘indicative flood plain’ which, according to the latest model, underestimated the number of vulnerable properties by some 300,000.

The EA has figured proximity to rivers and the coast into the model, and taken into account existing flood defences and previously neglected smaller rivers, concluding that up to 2.2 million UK properties could be at risk.

Planners are now able to enter the postcode for any location in the UK and see areas which would be flooded by rivers or the sea without any physical defences; the extent of extreme (0.1% probability) floods; and the regions that would benefit from flood defences.

The map is to be supplemented over the next few years when the EA maps the predicted impacts of climate change and estimates the speed and depth of future floodwater.

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