Public attitudes towards flooding and property-level flood protection measures

Seth Owusu, Grant Wright*, Scott Arthur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
409 Downloads (Pure)


The number of residential properties at risk from flooding is predicted to rise in the future, and it is clear that large-scale flood defence schemes are not always feasible. There is thus an increasing onus on the public to protect their own properties. This paper reports the results of a stakeholder consultation investigating public attitudes towards flooding and property-level flood protection (PLFP) in general, and peoples’ “willingness to pay” for PFLP specifically. The findings show that flooded households have suffered significant financial and social impacts. Despite some continued uncertainty surrounding flood risk responsibility, the majority of the public surveyed were willing to pay for PLFP, with a mean contribution of approximately £800. Whilst this paper broadly confirms some of the findings of earlier studies, it also indicates that public education and promotion campaigns have been effective in raising awareness and uptake of PLFP and that people are willing to pay more to protect their properties. The findings also support the notion that an increased awareness of PFLP, and an increased willingness to pay for PLFP, is linked to the scale of flooding and impacts, rather than just the frequency, as well as financial subsidies. The results of the study are particularly relevant to institutional stakeholders, as they can help guide the development of strategies to increase the uptake of such measures. Whilst the project focuses on the situation in Scotland, the findings will have resonance in similar countries throughout Europe and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1978
Number of pages16
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Flood impacts
  • Property-level flood protection
  • Willingness to pay


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