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Kitemark reminder for flood grant applicants

28 July 2016

Residents and business owners applying for flood grants are being reminded that the council will only approve the installation of Kitemarked products.

Under the government grant scheme anyone who flooded during December’s storms can apply for up to £5,000 to install measures to protect properties against future flooding. 

This includes resistance measures such as flood gates and front doors that resist floodwater.

The scheme and its application criteria have been devised by central government and we have been tasked with administering the grants.

Under the scheme the Defra/Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) guidance states that ‘where appropriate, applicants must seek to use products that carry the BSI Kitemark for flood protection products and PAS 1188.’ 

The PAS1188 is the standard to which flood protection products have been independently tested and proved fit for purpose in order to qualify for the BSI Kitemark.

But our officers working on the grant scheme have had to refuse some applications in South Lakeland because the products being installed don’t have the correct Kitemark.

Fiona Inston, South Lakeland District Council's Public Protection Manager, explained: “We are starting to see more applications coming in now from people looking to fit things like flood gates and doors to keep the water out of their property.

“They may already have had resilience measures, such as raised plug sockets and solid flooring, installed as part of the property’s repair process, but now as they return to their homes and businesses they may be applying to the grant scheme for some extra ‘resistance’ measures like flood gates.

“But we have also had to return a few applications because the goods people are looking to put in do not have the Kitemark standard.

“Experience from other areas that have run similar schemes in the past shows that in order to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the products flood grant schemes should only approve the use of BSI Kitemarked products.

“We’re not saying the product they’re looking to fit isn’t up to the job, but the BSI Kitemark is the benchmark of quality that identifies when something meets the stringent BSI standard and that’s what this scheme is looking for.

“Ideally the applicant should be asking for a quotation from the company that states that the products are Kitemarked and indicating the certificate number, to ensure that the product that is installed is Kitemarked and eligible for the grant.

“We will be asking for proof that flood doors and gates hold the appropriate certification.’’

Andrew Tagg, Technical Director at HR Wallingford, the independent scientific research association that conducts testing for British Standard Kitemarks and works with government departments and agencies including Defra, the Highways Agency and Environment Agency, supports our insistence on the use of products carrying the flood protection Kitemark.

Mr Tagg explained: “The PAS1188 is about more than just testing against flood water, although that is the main issue.

“It also includes requirements for product marking, documentation and purchaser safeguards, as well as factory inspection to ensure consistency of product. All of this gets wrapped up into the Kitemark that BSI issues.

“The leakage testing is rigorous, and ensures that product designs can cope with all typical flood conditions.’’

Mary Dhonau OBE, chair of  the Flood Protection Group at the Property Care Association, has also backed the use of officially Kitemarked products.

She said: “Having been flooded myself, I know how awful if can be. I only recommend the use of Kitemarked flood resilience products for doorways and airbricks, they have been tested to a high specification so home owners will have peace of mind.’’

We have already written to all flood-affected residents and businesses informing them about the grant scheme with details how to apply and with an application form.

The grants have also been promoted through tour social media channels and in local press articles, while information about the grants has been sent to community, business and charity groups involved in flood recovery work in the district and details about the £5,000 grants has been given out at roadshows and mobile units that have visited flood affected communities.

More details about the scheme, including a list of the kinds of measures that can be taken and an idea of costs, can be found in our flood grants section.

Grants will be payable to the person responsible for the fabric of the property, normally the property-owner.   Consideration will be given to property owners who wish to pool grants to enable flood arrangements to be put in place that may protect a number of properties in a community.

This is a one-off scheme to cover needs arising from the flooding occurring from Storm Desmond and Storm Eva in December 2015.

Grants are not intended to cover standard repairs or to provide compensation for flood damage. They must be used only for improvements to the fabric of the premises that would have the impact of reducing the impact and cost of subsequent flooding on the property.