Monday, November 23, 2009

Staying afloat: what businesses can do to protect themselves against flooding

Sue Wheat in GreenWise: The extent of the damage from last week’s ‘biblical style’ flooding that swept through parts of northern England, north-west Wales and western Scotland, is now very apparent to all. It will undoubtedly cause millions of pounds worth of damage to businesses and unmeasurable emotional stress to business owners, staff and customers, with many businesses forced to close temporarily or permanently if damage has made them structurally unsound and they are not insured.

…In a strange quirk of timeliness, the Queen announced new flood protection legislation in her Queen’s Speech in parliament on Thursday as the extent of the floods was becoming apparent. Her Majesty stated that: "Legislation will be introduced to protect communities from flooding and to ensure the security of water suppliers,” and referring to the new Flood and Water Management Bill, which is designed to improve the UK's resilience to floods.

Specialists in environmental management, engineering and the insurance sector all welcomed the legislation. Granville Davies, principal engineer at Royal Haskoning, says the bill will enable local authorities to take the lead in local flood risk management in the UK and brings an essential EU directive into UK legislative frameworks.

“With 3.8 million properties in England alone at risk of surface water flooding, the bill will also facilitate essential surface water management planning activity,” says Mr Davies. “This will enable greater understanding of surface water flood risks, the identification of flood risk management assets, and improved collaboration between stakeholder groups to implement preventative measures.”

Meanwhile, flood claims are expected to be in the region of £50-100 million, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said. … “All insurance companies are concerned about the impacts of climate change and want to minimise any impact,” says James Wallace, group head of Corporate Responsibility at RSA.

…Businesses that prepare for flooding will definitely be best placed for recovery. Preparation can save 20 to 90 per cent of the cost of lost stock and moveable equipment as well as making your insurance claim easier….

Flooding on the A596 road at Workington, Cumbria, about 300 metres from Calva Bridge, 20 November 2009, 7.30am, shot by David Trochos, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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