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Sinkholes. It’s not something you normally think about is it? Whilst sinkholes are a rarity they do occur and have been doing so more and more over the last four years. In between 1st January 2014 to 9th October 2017, 257 sinkholes have formed around Britain, making it a rate of about 1 a week. They can affect your property in ways you wouldn’t expect so here’s what you need to know.

First of all, what exactly are sink holes? They are essentially cavities in the ground caused by a collapse of the upper layer; they happen when the underground soil and rock are eroded by water or rain. The ground becomes saturated with water and as the pressure changes the ground moves or sometimes, in the case of sinkholes, collapses. There are many cavities underneath commercial properties that are liable to collapse but that just go unnoticed. Whilst it is impossible to predict a sinkhole, it is possible to change the way you manage your property in order to prevent them.

You need to identify the risks so you can stop sinkholes forming, which means knowing some practical tips to avoid them. One of the main things that cause sink holes are wet grounds so make sure you fix any water leaks, even if they’re small ones that start from faulty gutters. Also, avoid running the hose for a long period of time or emptying large quantities of water into your garden. The aim is to stop quick changes in the conditions of your grounds because that is when sinkholes are more likely to form. For example, it is known that sinkholes increase when rainfall rate changes rapidly.

In addition, the cold weather can affect the ground in the same way. Sinkholes mostly occur between October and February, so especially after the harsh winter we’ve had this year, it’d be best to be wary. Cold and wet weather means more properties could be in danger than you think. Extreme weather conditions most certainly exacerbate the number of sinkholes found.

However, the formation of sinkholes is not solely due to climatic changes, it can be a combination of things. A common culprit is chalk mining but obviously this isn’t relatable to the majority of people so the reason you need to be wary even if you don’t live in an area that is geographically similar to a chalk mine is because sinkholes can be caused by something as simple as basic infrastructure problems.

Certain areas are more prone to sinkholes than others but there is no danger in being aware of what causes them and how to prevent them for your own peace of mind.