Applying behavioural insights to support flood resilience

Published: August 2021
Flooding is the most significant natural disaster risk to UK homes, and climate change is increasing the risk of flooding even further. Homeowners can minimise the risk of flood damage by taking measures to protect their homes (also known as property flood resilience measures).This report describes our work with the Environment Agency and The Behavioural Insights Team to encourage homeowners to protect their homes. The main findings showed that:
  • None of our new ‘prepare for flooding’ webpages had any impact on our primary outcome measure (a measure of how confident people felt in their ability to protect their properties). However, we found that all of the webpages led to better outcomes than when participants saw no webpage at all. This indicates that viewing informational web pages delivers benefits to self-efficacy, response-efficacy, and awareness.
  • Using a ‘reciprocity’ framing within social media ads increased click-though and video completion rates. This implies that highlighting the shared social contract between government and homeowners increases engagement with communications about flooding.
  • All four of our improved flood plans lead to improvements across a range of outcome measures. Our ‘future self’ treatment (where participants were asked to consider what it would be like to be flooded) was most effective. Homeowners rated it as 14.8% more useful than EA’s current version. Our ‘context’ treatment (explaining the reason for flood plan’s suggestions) also performed strongly; homeowners rated it as 12.1% more useful than EA’s current version.

Read the report here.

Published August 2021