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FSB welcomes Government flood defence review

14 Sep 2016

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the Government’s publication of a new review of national flood defences, but says ‘there is still more to do to help small businesses at risk of flooding’.

The National Flood Resilience Review was commissioned in January 2016, following severe flooding around the country in the winter of 2015. Its purpose is to understand the risks of river and coastal flooding from extreme weather over the next ten years, assess and improve the resilience of local infrastructure (such as energy and transport) and improve emergency flood responses, including temporary defences.

In the 2016 Budget, then-Chancellor George Osborne announced a £700 million increase in flood defence and resilience spending. The findings published in the review commit an investment of £12.5 million to increase the Environment Agency’s stock of temporary flood defences and other incident response equipment.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘Small businesses will be encouraged the Government has . . . committed to critical investment in infrastructure to tackle the risks posed by flooding to the UK economy.

‘Nearly a fifth of businesses directly affected by devastating floods last Christmas are still not fully operational. That's a troubling indication of what could lie ahead as we again approach the winter months. As well as direct flood damage, we know disruption to staff and customers, supply chains, utilities and transport are the most frequently occurring problems for small businesses during severe weather events. So it’s vitally important infrastructure is built to withstand the pressures a flooding event can create. 

‘But the risk will never be zero. Small businesses also need to be empowered to improve their own resilience through a combination of trusted property-level protection and adequate insurance.

‘Our research suggests up to 75,000 smaller businesses at risk of flooding could currently struggle to find affordable flood insurance. Small businesses are not covered by the new Flood Re agreement and so FSB is working closely with the Government and insurance industry to explore how high-risk businesses can increase their resilience, reduce their flood risk and, consequentially, reduce their insurance costs.’