Climate change is a huge challenge we are facing, and with this it brings more extreme weather, increased sea levels, increased rainfall and summer heatwaves which causes more flooding and coastal erosion.
Here are some key facts, and what you need to know;
According to the Environment Agency there are 5.2 million homes and businesses in England at risk of flooding which is equivalent to 1 in 6 homes.
Gamma Location Intelligence have also reported that an additional 1.2 million homes across England could be at high risk of flooding by 2050, less than 30 years away.
It is also concerning that 11,410 new homes have been planned for land that is considered to be in a high-risk flood zone where thousands of properties have already been impacted by flooding in the past years. Everyone lives in a flood zone, but the zones are split into low, medium, and high and it is important that you know which zone you are in.
The British Geological Society has warned that another impact of climate change is the shrinking and swelling of the ground, often reported as subsidence. As the weather gets hotter and drier, the soils can harden which causes the ground to shrink and crack. When there is flooding, this causes the ground to swell.
If your property is affected by the above, banks and building societies may be reluctant to loan and also increase insurance premiums and lower house prices so it may be harder to re-mortgage or sell.
The importance of searches
It is essential that your conveyancing solicitor makes all the necessary searches before exchange of Contracts, so you are aware of the environmental risks around your property and the searches cover the below but not limited to questions,
- Is the property affected by any sea, river , ground water or surface water flooding?
- Does the property have potential for natural or non-natural ground subsidence?
- Does the property lie within 5km of oil and gas areas, power stations or energy infrastructure projects?
- Since 1847 has the land been used for any purpose which may have contaminated the land?
- Are there any contaminated land uses in the vicinity of the property such as landfill and waste sites?
If it is found that your property lies within a risk area, this will give you the opportunity to make further enquiries with the seller, local authority or seek expert advice and if necessary, order further specific searches before deciding whether to go-ahead with your property.
Before you commit to the purchase, you should have a survey carried out on the property and not rely on the lender’s valuation which is of limited value to a buyer. Some lenders’ valuers will now carry out a valuation without ever visiting the property. Depending on the type, age and condition of the property we would advise you to obtain a Home Buyer’s Report or full structural survey.
Whatever your views are on climate change, the issue is sadly not going to disappear, and when it comes to buying a property, which will likely be the biggest investment you will make in your life it is important to be aware of how climate change will impact your future dream home.