The clocks went forward on Sunday, which means spring is officially here. Whilst this may sound like good news to most, expected milder temperatures have meant water companies have already issued drought warnings in some parts of the UK.
Rainfall this winter was a massive 79% lower than average (Source- Ely Standard). According to The Guardian, the average rainfall so far this winter is lower than the months preceding the severe 1976 drought - which brought a summer of damaged crops, water rationing and wild fires. A dry spring could have disastrous consequences to houses up and down the nation. This is because thirsty tree roots are responsible for 70% of all subsidence claims (Source- The Telegraph).
The Telegraph report a predicted 85% surge in subsidence claims last year. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) said that it has seen a fivefold increase in the number of calls about subsidence from home owners unable to get conventional insurance during the past few months. "We are getting the same number of calls a day as we used to receive in a week," a spokesman said.
Andy Wynne-Jones, Head of Underwriting at HomeLet says “Some properties are more at risk from subsidence than others. Victorian properties built in the South East are the most vulnerable. Their foundations are usually shallow and they’re regularly built on clay. Houses with large trees in their garden are also at risk. Homeowners with trees taller than 8 metres that are within 10 metres of their house could be in trouble, especially if their trees are Popler, Oak or Willow as these trees require a large amount of water”.
Andy Wynne-Jones continues, “If homeowners find that they fit the criteria of having a house with these characteristics, or have noticed houses close to them having cracks or needing underpinning, they must consult a subsidence expert as soon as possible in order to minimise the damage. A good website to consult would be The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors: http://www.rics.org/subsidence