Is Your Business In a Flood Risk Area in Birmingham?
Birmingham is particularly susceptible to flooding due to the arrangement of the land along with its geological characteristics. With risks of flooding from rivers, surface water and groundwater as well as sewers, reservoirs and canals, heavy or prolonged rainfall or fast-melting snow can cause serious flood damage to homes and businesses very quickly.
Large-scale floods are becoming more and more common such as those that happened in September 1998, April 1999, June 1999, July 2000, June 2005, June 2007, July 2007, September 2008 and June 2012.
Like in many urban areas, Birmingham businesses are at a higher risk of flooding due to a combination of reasons, such as an extensive canals and waterways system (that runs for approx. 160 miles) as well as development on flood plains. Where flood plains previously took the strain and enabled excess water to drain away, we are seeing more and more incidents of flooding in these built up areas as towns and cities expand into the surrounding brownfield land.
Interestingly, environmental charity Greenpeace, made a Freedom of Information request and in December 2015 reported that nearly half of the areas earmarked for fast-tracked housing development by government schemes are at significant risk of flooding. Fortunately for Birmingham, the city is not on the shortlist but this doesn’t mean that the risk of flooding is reducing in the area.
What does this mean for the people and businesses of Birmingham?
It means that flooding in the area is inevitable, as a 2010 report by Birmingham City Council admits,
“[…]it is worth noting that whilst there are assessments of flood risk now available at a national, regional and local level, none will claim to be able to solve the problem completely. The National Assessment of Flood Risk for England (NAFR), published by the Environment Agency in 2009, states that: Flooding is a part of nature. It is neither technically feasible nor economically affordable to prevent all properties from flooding.1”
In accepting that flooding is unavoidable in certain areas, you can be prepared for the worst and minimise the damage flooding causes to your business property and turnover.
What can you do to protect your business from floods?
First, you need to establish whether you are in a flood risk area. The Birmingham area is complex and there are many reasons why a flood might occur. Read more information on how to find out if your business is at risk of flooding2.
Next you need to have a flood plan in place that details who needs to be contacted, your insurance details and the steps that need to be followed, such as turning off the electricity.
To find out more about flood damage clean up in Birmingham, contact the experts, CleanSafe Services UK on 0800 668 1268.
1 Birmingham City Council, Flood Risk Management and Response: A Report from Overview & Scrutiny, 2010 p.16-17