The impact of local flooding
2014 started with major flooding across England and Wales. At the last count, almost 6000 properties were flooded and insurers estimate the damage exceeds £203 million. Sheila Abrams, who lives in Debden, just south of Cambridge, described her experiences to Hannah Critchlow...
Hannah - The waters have now gone down I believe, but what damage are you left with?
Sheila - It's quite a lot of damage actually, far more than I would've thought. The kitchen's had to be stripped out and tomorrow, the month after the flood, the builder's coming in to take the floors out and the plaster off up to a meter, and all the insulation out so that we can then dry out where it was flooded before we can start making it good and putting it all back in again.
Hannah - So, it's causing quite a big inconvenience in reshuffle in your house I imagine. Were you aware that your house was at risk of flooding when you bought it?
Sheila - Not at all. We've lived here since 2000 and we've never had any sign at all that it might flood. The ditch that runs round our property is massive. It's about 12 foot deep. In fact, that ditch wasn't full of water, but the water leading into it had overflown and sort of come out of the ditch system if you like. That had never had before and it just flowed into our property.
Hannah - So, it was a big surprise when you got home and saw the damage then. Is there anything that you think you can do to help prevent this happening in the future?
Sheila - There were a few things. It would be nice to have a larger culvert put in so where the bottle neck was, where it started coming out of the system. I don't know whether that will be feasible, but I think the fact that we're aware that it could happen now, will wake us up as we had no idea where all this water was coming from really. We will raise up some levels to try and stop the water ever doing that again. I'm not terribly confident that it won't happen again, but we'll do our best to keep it out, I don't want it happening again.