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Building future communities

10 February, 2023

What is the true cost of extreme weather?

Aviva came to Good Business last year for some help to address this question. And Aviva’s latest Building Future Communities report, published this week, reveals a surprising answer.

As many of us have experienced first-hand, extreme weather – from floods to drought and extreme heat – can have a devastating effect. Floods can force UK residents out of their homes and into temporary accommodation, destroying precious belongings and costing thousands to repair. Heatwaves can trigger fires, illness and even death. But Aviva’s latest report reveals that extreme weather also has a hidden cost: carbon emissions.

Good Business conducted analysis to estimate the carbon cost of a severe river flood on a UK home. When factoring in waste, building restoration, repairing contents and transport to and from the home, we found that the carbon footprint of a single flood can be equivalent to that of six and a half transatlantic flights (13.9 tonnes of CO2 emissions).

But there’s good news, too. Installing simple property flood resilience measures – like raising electrical sockets and installing flood doors – can reduce this carbon cost by 64%. And they can also allow people to stay in their homes, speed up repair times, reduce costs and protect treasured possessions.

This research shows that adapting properties to face our changing climate won’t just save time and money. It is also a crucial part of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. Aviva is calling on the UK government to incentivise property flood resilience measures – including considering the case for removing VAT on Property Flood Resilience materials and installation – and to make sure UK properties are built in the right places, with the right flood defences installed from the start.

We’re proud to have been part of bringing this campaign to life. Understanding the close relationship between adaptation and emissions reduction is crucial for helping people across the UK to save money, stay healthy and protect the people and places they love.

By Sarah Howden

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