12 November 2015

More than 3000 commercial properties were flooded during the winter of 2013/14 with many businesses still counting the costs which, for some, have run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Although that winter was the wettest recorded in the UK, the Environment Agency warns that flooding is set to become more common as the climate changes.

With some 260,000 business units in England located in flood risk areas, there is potential for severe disruption should severe weather incidents become more common, as experts are warning.

According to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), two-thirds of SMEs have been affected by severe weather, including flooding, in the past three years.

Worryingly, three-quarters of them still have no plan for dealing with such incidents.

Now the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready Support Service has set out three steps which businesses can take to help protect themselves: sign up for free flood warnings covering their area; develop a business flood plan; and obtain a personalised report about how their business can prepare for flooding and severe weather, by completing a free business resilience health check.

The Agency’s campaign is supported by Greencore, a leading international producer of convenience foods.

The company was hit by flooding in October 2000, when more than a metre of water flowed through its Selby factory. Damage ran into millions of pounds, and most of the company’s workforce had to be relocated to Manchester.

Greencore is urging other firms to make sure they know their own flood risk. Having a more robust business continuity plan was one of the hard lessons it learned, as was the need to work with the Environment Agency to access information when flooding occurs.

For further information, see the Environment Agency’s Flood Action campaign pages at http://bit.ly/1z0uaWN.