Sheffield Hallam lecturer recommends turning homes 'upside down' to reduce the impact of flooding

Following the floods in Doncaster and Sheffield, Lecturer John Grant offers tips on how to battle climate change and extreme weather events.

By Laura Andrew
Monday, 11th November 2019, 9:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 12:19 pm
John Grant, Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University
John Grant, Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University

John Grant is a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, he teaches on the topic of sustainability and his research field is climate change adaptation and resilience.

He said: “Climate change is actually a natural process that the earth goes through in cycles based on the output and the orbit of the sun.

“There is a blanket around the earth - formed of a number of gasses such as water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane.

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“They hold the heat in and over time they will increase the average warming of the earth.

“If there is more heat in the earth's atmosphere then it has more energy - more energy means more storms, heavier rainfall, stronger winds and more hurricanes.”

The recent floods in South Yorkshire saw a month's worth of rainfall in just one day.

“The flooding that we’ve just experienced is on the back of the flooding we had in 2007.

“That was horrific, I remember my mum was trapped in her house.

“The Environment Agency and the City Council spent tens of millions making sure Sheffield didn’t get flooded.”

Some of those defences included parks near the river intended to absorb large amounts of water and flood protection walls.

Due to these defences, the River Don is now able to carry a much larger volume of water.

John said: “What we’ve seen at Parkgate shopping centre and Fishlake and a number of other small villages was that the flooding was made worse by the volume of water in the Don.

“The Environment Agency has done a fantastic job with the resources they had - to stop Sheffield from flooding.

“Fishlake hadn’t been flooded for a hundred years, why would they spend money on an area that hadn’t been flooded for a hundred years.

“That would be crazy - imagine if they had protected that area and then an area of Sheffield that flooded in 2007 got flooded again.”

John’s research in flood reliance has led him to coming up with ways that people can flood-proof their homes.

“There are some really simple things that you can do - the first thing you can do is turn your house upside down,” John continued.

“At the moment most houses in the UK have their living spaces on the ground floor and their sleeping spaces on the upper floor.

“Now imagine inverting that - if you had a flood warning in that situation you could save what you own.

“It is much easier to take bedroom items up the stairs than it would be to take a freezer.”

John says that a flood in this scenario would cause significantly less financial damage to the home occupier.