Understanding the Environment Agency Flood Map

flood map 2

Whether you live in a rural or built up area, your housing or accommodation can still be at risk of flooding. Below are some tips and advice on how to understand and use the Environment Agency Flood Risk Map. You will also find information on the different types of flood risk, and help on what to do after a flood, should the worst happen to you.

By definition, a flood risk combines both potential and probable influences of flooding for all sources in one area. These include the sea, rivers, via rainfall and via drainage systems. .

Environment Agency Flood Risk Map

The flood risk map was set up by the UK government in order to find the flood risk of your current location, or any location you wish to research. When using this service, you will first need to type in your postcode, or the postcode of an area you would like to check. Don’t worry if you don’t the location exactly accurate, you can move a marker to your desired location on the next page. Once you have done this, you will be able to see what “flood zone” your location falls under.

flood map for planning
How to use the Environment Agency Flood Map

If you live in an area which falls under Flood Map Zone 1, you will be happy to know that the chances of flooding within one year is 1 in 1000. Areas in zone 1 are shown as white or clear on the flood zone map. These areas are more likely to be approved for building and are advisable areas to move to.

Environment Agency Flood Map Zones 2 and 3

When looking at the Floop Map, zones 2 and 3 are shown respectively as light and dark blue in colour. Areas on the flood map that fall within zone 2 will have a 1 in 100 chance of flooding throughout the calendar year. Flooding can occur from rivers or sea, and planning permission will need to be reviewed by the government before being approved.

Zone 3 is split into 3a and 3b. Living in 3a means that you are at a higher risk of annual flooding, and is known as the High Probability section of zone 3. 3b of Zone 3 is known as a Functional Floodplain area. This means that during times of flooding, this area will allow water to flow freely and be stored safely until flooding has ceased.

Although zones 3a and 3b are not distinguished on the map, you will be able to see which area you fall under via the information shown besides the map.

flood map for planning 2

If an area of land is within flood zone 2 or 3, a flood risk activity permit will be needed in order to acquire planning permission. These can be obtained from the government website. If you do not carry out a flood risk assessment on an area of land that falls within zone 3, any planning permission you put forward may not be granted.

If you live in flood zone 2 or 3, it might be a good idea to sign up for flood warnings. This service is free and means you will be notified of a potential flood if and when it ever happens. If you’re moving home, and your new house sits within a flood zone, you can check its flooding history by emailing enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk with the following details:

  • Your phone number
  • A map of your area (this can be via the flood map government website, or via Google Maps – whichever you prefer)
  • Over what time you want the report to cover (i.e within the last year)
  • The address of the property

Environment Agency Wales Flood Maps

If you live in Wales, you can still use the government flood risk services above, or visit the Natural Resources Wales dedicated website. On this site, you can check the water levels, see if there are any flood warnings in your area, receive information on long-term flood risks, and find local information for what to do during a flood.

flood map for planning 3 wales

Getting help after a flood

No matter the zone or area you live in, you can find that flooding can happen at any time. If you find yourself in the middle of a flood, you can ask for advice and help via The National Flood Forum. Via this website you can also report a flood as it happens, report an electrical hazard (such as power cuts, or broken lines), report gas leaks as a result of a flood, or report an overflowing sewer.

If you need temporary accommodation, you can contact your local council.

If you have prepared of a flood accordingly, you will need to dispose of sandbags at your local rubbish site, and must put non-pollutable items directly in the bin. You can also find more help on the government website on what to do after a flood.

Job Centre Christmas Opening Hours 2017

To find out the opening hours for your local Job Centre at Christmas, call  0844 248 2557.

Click here to see the Jobcentre Christmas open days for 2018 – 2019.


Job Centre Christmas Opening Hours 2017

Over the Christmas and New Year period, many places of business often restrict their usual opening times. The same goes for Job Centres across the UK, known as Jobcentre Plus.

The good news is that due to the amended Job Centre Christmas opening hours, nobody should have an appointment between 25th – 27th December or 1st – 2nd January. Limited public transport and family commitments make it difficult to travel to the Job Centre as well, so your work coach shouldn’t book any appointments for signing on during this time.

Unfortunately, if you experience issues with your benefits claim such as sanctions, the Christmas closures will slow down an appeal. Be sure to attend all your appointments leading up to Christmas and fulfil your job search requirements. This will allow you to enjoy your Christmas without the stress of the Job Centre reducing or stopping your benefits.

Job Centre Christmas & New Year Availability

In the following table, you can find the opening times for Job Centre offices and phone lines over Christmas and New Year. If the date is not listed in the table, then both should open normally.

England & Wales
Monday 25th December 2017
All phone lines and local offices closed.
All phone lines and local offices closed.
Tuesday 26th December 2017
All phone lines and local offices closed.
All phone lines and local offices closed.
Wednesday 27th December 2017
Phone lines open for urgent calls about payments only. Local offices closed.
Phone lines and local offices open for urgent enquiries about payments only.
Thursday 28th December 2017
Phone lines and offices open as normal.
Phone lines and offices open as normal.
Friday 29th December 2017
Phone lines and offices open as normal.
Phone lines and offices open as normal.
Monday 1st January 2018
Phone lines and local offices closed.
Phone lines and local offices closed.
Tuesday 2nd January 2018
Phone lines and local offices open for urgent enquiries about payments only.
Phone lines open for urgent calls about payments only. Local offices closed.

Contacting the Job Centre During Christmas

As shown above, on some days all offices and phone lines are closed. On other days, even when they’re open, they only accept urgent enquiries about benefit payments. As the last working day before Christmas is Friday 22nd December this year, any payments due on days when the Job Centre closes should be paid on that day instead. For more information on benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year, click here.

If you have an issue with your payment, you can call on particular days shown in the table when the service is otherwise unavailable. However, if you need to call about anything else, such as an upcoming appointment, you will have to wait until a day when everything is open as usual. Click the links below to find the helpline numbers to contact for the particular benefit you’re claiming.

Finally, if your circumstances change at all over the Christmas period, remember to contact the Job Centre as soon as possible.

The DVLA could fine you £1,000 for having the wrong address on your driving licence

The DVLA could fine you £1,000 for having the wrong address on your driving licenseMillions of motorists across the UK could face surprise charges if they have the wrong address on their driving licence. With a rule that seemingly millions of drivers around the UK are unaware of, anyone with a driving licence has to let the DVLA know if they will be changing address, or risk facing a £1,000 fine if they’re stopped by the police and have an incorrect address on the licence.

The rule applies to all kinds of moves, including temporary relocations for situations like term-time for university students. It is free to change your address with the DVLA, so there shouldn’t any reason not to change your address, yet it seems that many people weren’t aware that the need to change your address immediately was as vital as it is. If you need to update your address you can easily do it online via Gov.uk website, where you can fill out a simple form and your new licence will be sent to you within three weeks.

Other reasons for updating your licence would be for name-changes and making sure that your photo is kept up-to-date. If you’re not sure whether your picture is out of date, you can simply check the 4b photo on your licence, where you will find the date that your photo expires. Your photo lasts around 10 years, so keep an eye over the years to ensure that your licence is always up-to-date, unless you want to face the £1,000 fine.

Comparethemarket.com released research that says around 1.5 million registered drivers have the wrong address on their driving licence, meaning that if all of the drivers were stopped and fined the DVLA could claim around £1.5 billion from motorists with incorrect details. 35% of the motorists who were interviewed by the website didn’t know that having incorrect details on your driving licence was illegal, showing that it is a more common problem than many would realise. Over 2.6 million motorists haven’t updated their licences in time, including 3% of married women who have the wrong name on their licences after changing it legally. If you find that you need to renew your licence, then it only costs £20, or £24.50 if you do it at your local post office, and can be useful if you find your licence is out of date, as an out of date licence can cause you more problems than it’s worth.

If you find yourself as a person who needs to change their address on their licence and need to know more about how to change your licence, then this simple guide can help you:

  1. Visit Gov.uk and find the ‘Driving and transport’ section.
  2. Here you can select the ‘Driving licences’ section and choose to tell the DVLA you’ve changed your address.
  3. Clicking on this will lead you to a Gov.uk page that gives you the chance to update your address on your driving licence, as well as in your vehicle’s log book (V5C) and you can have the chance to update your details with the DVLA if you pay by Direct Debit for your vehicle tax.
  4. By choosing to apply online for your licence update, you will be directed to a DVLA website that will require your Government Gateway User ID – if you don’t have a Government Gateway account you will need to create one before changing any of your details online
  5. From here you will need to have your current driving licence, any addresses you’ve lived in in the past three years and, if you need to change your photo as well, your passport number so that they can use your passport photo for your licence.

Always make sure that you’re up to date with all of the details for your driving licence, as it could cost you a surprising amount if you’re not completely accurate with all of your details, and isn’t worth the hassle that it can cause for a free and quick update online.

NHS To Unveil New 111 Service

NHS 111 Service

Since new cuts for the NHS emergency services were announced at the beginning of the year, there has been a strain on the ability to treat patients fast enough. With some people waiting hours for an available bed, and many Accident & Emergency rooms closing this year, it’s not hard to see how much the NHS is struggling to stay on its feet presently.

A recent outcry by activists has urged parliament to reconsider their stance on the NHS and how it can be reformed to work the way it was meant to. From this has come the news that they are to “revamp” the 111 service offered by the NHS in order to help people when both A&E departments and their GP offices are full, and to help people who may not need to visit the hospital.

The 111 service was created in 2011 and is considered a lesser alternative to calling 999 when you have an issue. If you are concerned for your health but are unsure whether your issue is with your local GP, the Emergency Room, or whether you can treat yourself at home, then 111 is the service you need to call. Trained advisors are on call 24/7 to help you with any issues you may have. If you are concerned and do not wish to wait to see a medical professional, the trained staff at 111 can offer peace of mind when you need it the most.

Despite the original idea to perfect and better the NHS Direct service, 111 has been criticised for using fewer nurses that its former did. It’s thought this new overhaul will see the introduction of more trained nurses into the service, alongside their trained staff.

The rebuilding of the service is a great idea for preventing members of the public crowding A&E services around the country. Roughly 40% of patients who call 111 are helped there and then and have no need to head to the hospital, or even their local GP. The idea is great for those who have an illness they are unsure about, as staff can identify issues almost immediately. If they believe you need to see your GP or go to the hospital, they will tell you to do so, in extreme cases they can also send an ambulance to your location.

The reform is set to see much more 111 call centres dotted around the UK, which means more staff will be needed and trained to help callers each and every day. The reform will also be an effort to link 111 to more integrated NHS services such as the Fire Service and GP Offices. The current National Medical Advisor, Dr Helen Thomass, had this to say about the overhaul of the 111 service:

“We will make it possible for up to 30% of NHS 111 callers to have a telephone consultation with a clinician who can access their medical records and be able to book them into an appointment if necessary.”

Full disclosure of the plans for 111 will be announced later this month.

Could this be the end of the DWP?

The DWP have come under fire in recent months, mainly because of the austerity that has been introduced by the Tory government. Welfare cuts have swept the nation, and have arguably targeted the most vulnerable in our society causing homelessness and poverty, and unsurprisingly, there are calls for it to end. Pronto. Theresa May’s new government have wasted no time setting about to take action on some of the issues that have upset the nation, and this includes taking down the DWP and replacing it with a fairer system. Labour Party Politician Owen Smith has argued that the DWP now brings nothing but insecurity and as a result should be replaced with something more stable, like a work ministry. He continued to say that if he became labour leader (he is currently in the running with jeremy Corbyn, both who;s fate will be decided in September), this would be the case. Will Theresa May succeed in reducing cuts to help those most vulnerable, as well as protecting the country’s economy after a shock Brexit?Money from the DWP

Universal Credit Failures

The DWP incompetence has recently come to light with the delays to Universal Credit getting longer and longer, leaving them to come under fire from ministers who are saying that the delays could have been avoided, and that the whole thing has not been managed correctly. Many people that are in recipient of Universal Credit have spoken of their anguish in trying to obtain their payments, with many comparing getting the money you’re entitled to as like getting blood from a stone. Universal Credit is not yet available to everyone in the UK , but some areas of the country are classed as ‘trial areas’, which means that if you are in need of unemployment benefits, your claim will be registered as Universal Credit. News has emerged that it will take until 2022 for the new system to be fully ruled out, which shows somewhat of a mass incompetence on the DWP’s part. Complicated new computer systems are being seen as one of the main reasons to blame for its ever growing delays. The situation has now become severe and the reason for this is that it is causing a large increase in poverty, with a huge amount of respondents to several surveys admitting they have to cut down on food in order to survive. It is about time the new prime minister realises that the country’s current social security system is not working for vulnerable people in our society.An element of irony also clouds the whole claims process that definitely needs to be addressed. Because the process is so lengthy and inconvenient, claimants are having to take time out of applying for work and finding a new job, to attend several universal credit interviews, to see whether they are even eligible. The other half of the country is still receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance amongst other benefits and have no idea when they will be switched over to Universal Credit, which will definitely see a cut to the payments that they receive.

Socialist Revolution

Owen Smith has voiced his wishes to shift power back to employees. He has not only insinuated that the DWP is incompetent, but has also called them cruel. Those that are new to claiming and claim for Universal Credit because they have found themselves suddenly out of work, will (eventually) be able to have a claim submitted, after form after form and an interview, only to be told that although the claim has been processed, payment will not begin until September. The sad fact is that you can no longer rely on the inefficient DWP for financial security should you find yourself out of work, and , of course, this is a reflection on the government, which is probably why Smith is determined to change this should he come into power. On top of dealing with the DWP, Owen Smith has expressed a need to return the country to a 50p top tax rate, as well as setting a new rate to the richest 1%, cancelling ex-minister George Osbourne’s cuts to corporation. This may be met with some hostility as this was to encourage trade with EU countries, despite a Brexit. However, the money they gain back from this will help towards the 4% spending rise by the NHS, which could arguably suggest he has better priorities. It seems Smith is determined to target the rich, by introducing a 15% tax levy on income that was not earned, but rather invested. This aims to target those with £150, 000 or higher income. This is to be known as the wealth tax. Owen Smith ultimately, enthusiastically calls for a socialist revolution in which to ‘build a better Britain.’

Could Owen Smith’s ideas of totally scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a ministry of labour and a department for social security mean that those who are most vulnerable, out of work and relying on the government, get the help they actually need, instead of being told they will have to wait due to a ‘backlog of claims’ or an ‘inbuilt delay’. Is this a true take from the rich and give to the poor scenario, and will there really be a ‘socialist revolution’?