The Environment Agency has launched a campaign to ensure North East businesses are prepared for flooding.
Since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood every year with businesses more likely to flood than be destroyed by fire.
And with recent events such as 2012’s ‘Thunder Thursday’ hitting businesses hard the Environment Agency is working with them to reduce the impact of a flood.
The campaign launches with an event in Yarm next week and will culminate with an event in North Shields in October.
The Environment Agency’s four Flood Resilience Community Engagement Officers for the region have already been in touch with more than 700 business across the region to raise awareness of flooding issues – more than 100 in Tyne and Wear, more than 500 in Durham and Darlington and more than 90 in Cleveland.
In Northumberland, the team worked with seven businesses during a drop-in about a potential flood scheme at Hexham Industrial Estate and 18 businesses attended a drop-in event at Prudhoe.
‘It will never happen to me’
Taryn Al-mashgari, Community Engagement Officer for Tyne and Wear, said:
A common phrase I hear when out visiting businesses is ‘it will never happen to me’. Some aren’t even aware they are trading in an area at risk of flooding. Flooding accounts for 33% of all losses to business property. This has a huge impact on our economy.
With climate change meaning extreme weather events becoming frequent and more severe in the future it’s more important than ever that businesses are prepared.
Most businesses can save between 20% and 90% on the cost of lost stock and moveable equipment by taking action now, before winter. For every £1 spent preparing for flooding £5 is saved – this is money well spent.
- The campaign launches with a ‘Business Breakfast’ drop-in event in Yarm which takes place at Yarm Fellowship Hall between 7.30am-9am on Wednesday 22 August.
Businesses can come along and talk to Sarah Duffy, Community Engagement Officer for Cleveland, about their experiences of flooding and she will be helping them understand how to prepare for a flood, create a business flood group and ensure the safety of staff and customers during a flood event. Refreshments will be provided.
- This will be followed up by a community drop-in event at Redcar and Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart on Friday 24 August between 10am and 12noon.
And in October, the campaign will culminate with a big event for businesses at North Shields Fish Quay. Taryn added:
The impact of ‘Thunder Thursday’ on businesses across the country was estimated to be £200million, that’s an extraordinary figure. There’s lots that businesses can do to reduce the impact.
Things businesses can do to make them more resilient to flooding:
Understand the different types of flooding. Flooding can happen from the coast, river, surface water, sewer and groundwater.
Check their flood risk. Businesses can check if they are at risk of flooding from rivers, the coast and surface water.
Check they have the right level of insurance.
Write a flood plan.
Invest in flood protection measures and link up with neighbouring properties.