Guidance

Flooding and health: national study

A study to help Public Health England (PHE) understand the impact of flooding on health and wellbeing.

Aims

The study consisted of a questionnaire sent once a year to people living in certain areas affected by flooding in the winters of 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015, for up to 3 years after the flooding event.

The study aimed to help PHE to:

  • understand how communities were affected by the storms and floods
  • know what the effects are on people’s health and daily living
  • determine how long the impact on health lasts

The results from the study will help us plan for the impact on people of future severe weather events, so we can help communities recover more quickly.

The study team

PHE, an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), coordinated the study.

The flooding study team includes university researchers from:

Participants

The study team contacted residents in flood-affected areas from 6 local authority areas of England which are:

  • Gloucestershire
  • Wiltshire
  • Somerset
  • Kent
  • Surrey
  • Cumbria

Everyone in the household aged 18 or over was eligible to complete our questionnaire. Households were contacted again annually for 3 years to repeat some of the questions so that we could track the long-term effects of severe weather on people’s health.

Results

We found that flooding can have a significant negative impact on the mental health of people whose homes are flooded as well as people whose lives are disrupted by flooding. This impact on mental health persisted for at least 3 years.

We produced a report on our results that has been shared with the main government organisations with responsibility in this area, including the DHSC and the Environment Agency.

A copy of the report and a summary of the main findings are available in the Publications section below. We have published some of our results in medical journals and we are currently working on further research from this study.

For more information, please contact the study team by:

Publications

The English National Study of Flooding and Health: summary of the evidence generated to date

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The English National Study for Flooding and Health: first year report

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The English National Study for Flooding and Health: groups infographic

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The English National Study for Flooding and Health: likelihood infographic

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Further information

You can get more information about flooding from:

Published 1 March 2015
Last updated 14 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect that the study is now closed and data is being analysed. Includes brief summary of results to date.

  2. Added summary of the evidence generated to date.

  3. Added documents about the first year report.

  4. First published.