Weather forecasters predict that the UK may be facing its wettest winter for 30 years and businesses should be prepared for the devastating impact of floodwater.
Rudridge, a specialist independent merchant for the drainage, groundwork and civil engineering industries, is all too aware of flood risk and its management. A recent building project in Greenhithe, Kent, for example, needed the merchant’s Gravesend branch to source downstream defenders that would feed site surface water into ponds around the development, ensuring flooding was at a low risk.
Another project provided flood-preventing box culverts to a construction customer in the Sittingbourne area, ensuring that the area remains flood-free.
The Met Office’s three-month contingency plan is warning of above average rainfall this winter with exceptionally wet conditions. The Environment Agency has issued further warnings across the south west, central and eastern parts of the country, where river levels are rising and ground is already saturated.
Data collected by government agencies including Defra and the Environment Agency show that 40% of businesses ‘do not re-open after a catastrophic loss’. So what should businesses do to protect themselves? Clearly ensuring employee safety and service continuity are key issues and obtaining as much notice as possible of potential floods can reduce their impact.
Darren Price, business development manager at Rudridge, offers local businesses the following tips:
The Environment Agency website -http://apps.environmentagency.gov.uk/flood/31618.aspx - issues flood alert warnings, including a three-day flood risk forecast. It also offers flood warnings direct, a free subscriber service that provides flood warnings by phone, text or email.
The Met Office can help businesses to stay ‘weather aware’ this winter by following the Met Office on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube for the latest weather information. Severe weather alerts can be obtained through the Twitter Alerts programme, and also at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk.
The Environment Agency also offers advice on making a personal flood plan which can save time and reduce damage if premises are flooded.
Crucially, businesses should ensure that their data is secure and backed up. While damage to physical infrastructure may eventually be repaired, crucial customer and business data may be a different matter.