Increasing number of Peterborough properties at flood risk warns campaigner seeking to help homeowners

An increasing number of homes in Peterborough are set to be at risk of flooding according to a leading expert who is launching a flood prevention campaign in the city this week (March 9).

By Ben Jones
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:00 am
Ox-Cam Pathfinder Project’s PFR Business Advisor, Matt Tandy, and Residential Advisor, Mary Dhonau, outside the Floodmobile. EMN-210226-143147001
Ox-Cam Pathfinder Project’s PFR Business Advisor, Matt Tandy, and Residential Advisor, Mary Dhonau, outside the Floodmobile. EMN-210226-143147001

Property Flood Resilience Specialist Mary Dhonau made the warning ahead of the Floodmobile’s virtual launch in Peterborough on Tuesday.

The Ox-Cam Pathfinder project, which is funded by government agency Defra, is seeking to raise awareness of the steps that can be taken by homeowners to make their properties more flood resilient to reduce the devastating effects of flooding.

Mary and her team have been invited to share their expertise with the city’s residents by Peterborough City Council after high water levels deluged a number of properties around Ramsey and Sawtry in December. Ferry Meadows also reported its worst ever flooding this winter.

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Mary has warned that this is set to become an issue that will affect more home and business owners as time goes on and climate change starts to take effect.

She said: “We are starting to see the impacts of climate change more and more. Winter rainfall is set to increase by more than 59% by 2050 and we have already seen ten of the wettest winters on record in recent years.

“I am a strong believer that we shouldn’t be building on floodplains and all new build houses should be subject to new building regulations and be flood resilient.

“One of the schemes that can be particularly effective is to build garages on the first floor of the house. I know that seems unconventional but it would sure save people losing lots of their treasured possessions.”

The floodmobile itself is a custom-built demonstration vehicle that is packed with over 50 practical property flood resilience measures to provide vital information to residents. These tips range from how to keep water out but also to help recover quickly should water enter the building.

Mary, who began studying what could be done to reduce the impacts of flooding in 2007, after being flooded herself, added: “There are a great number of things that can be done. Firstly though, we need to tackle the obsession with sandbags, they don’t work. They just filter the water and people end up with clean water in their homes. They are an environmental hazard as well and can often cause problems with E.Coli being found in them, then there is the issue of disposal.”

“Among the innovations we are showcasing are self-closing air bricks which are designed to close as soon as water touches them, these are great for stopping lower level floods. There are also examples of door guards, wall finishes that are water resistant and don’t cause mold and floor covering that make it simple to sweep the water out and just disinfect.

“We have been invited to Peterborough to try and help people whose homes are at significant risk of flooding. It is something I am passionate about because I was displaced myself for nine months, Many more people are set to be displaced in the coming years but we want to ensure that as few people as possible have to experience the financial and emotional toll being flooded brings.

“We are starting off with a launch, a free event, online but I can’t wait to actually go into Peterborough when we’re allowed.

“It has blown my mind what you can do with technology though and we are able to offer a virtual tour, showing item by item what it is there.”

The Minister for Environment Rebecca Pow MP is providing a welcome speech at the virtual launch event, before a 360-degree virtual tour is provided, alongside PFR experts, Mary and Matt Tandy.

A panel will then invite questions from attendees, the panel will include Dan Bond, Deputy Director of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management at the Environment Agency, Ian Gibbs, Deputy Chairman of the DEFRA Property Flood Resilience Roundtable, Dermot Kehoe, Communications and Transition Director of Flood Re and Alastair Moseley, Honorary Vice President of CIWEM.

To register for the Floodmobile virtual launch event click here:

For more information, visit, Here you will also find Mary’s ‘Homeowners guide to flood resilience.’