North East businesses warned to be more prepared for flooding by winter


Businesses in the North East have been urged to ensure they are better prepared for flooding.

The Environment Agency has launched a campaign to reduce the impact of flooding in light of recent events such as ‘Thunder Thursday’ in 2012, which cost businesses in £200m.

Since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood every year with businesses more likely to flood than be destroyed by fire.

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Businesses have been told they can make behavioural and structural changes to ensure their premises and stock are protected.

The Environment Agency has recommended checking flooding risk, having the right level of insurance, writing a flood plan, investing in flood protection measures and linking up with neighbouring properties.

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.

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.

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.”

Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

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Joe Peskett

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