Small businesses that have been flooded take around four months for their sales to recover.
And a new study has also revealed the staggering amount of damage flooding can cause with many small businesses then struggling to get flood insurance.
The study by the University of Leeds found that severe flooding in the Halifax area of West Yorkshire – known as Calderdale - caused huge financial losses.
The study revealed that flooding in the winter 2019/2020 caused just over £43 million in direct losses to Calderdale’s economy, plus an estimated £25 million in indirect losses.
The direct costs were caused by damage to property and stock while indirect losses were caused when companies that are part of supply chains had to temporarily close.
The Environment Agency can’t stress enough that business and homeowners are responsible for their own flood protection, flood mitigation and flood control and continually urge them to look for the best anti-flood devices to suit their needs.
Many opt for FloodSax alternative sandbags manufactured by Yorkshire company Environmental Defence Systems which can keep floodwater out but also soak up leaks and spills inside. They are ideal for flood management and flood resilience.
Ralph de Mesquita, Senior Technical Risk Engineer at insurer Zurich, said: “Every £1 invested in flood resilience on average saves £5 in future losses. Preventing, or at least minimising the impact of flood events, will allow businesses to recover quicker.”
The study’s co-author Dr Marco Sakai, a lecturer in Ecological Economics at the University of York, said: “SMEs are an essential part of any region’s economy and represent an essential fabric of communities.
“In fact, they are responsible for 99% of the business base in Yorkshire, providing vital employment, goods and services. Not taking effective action to mitigate flooding decreases the resilience of not only SMEs, but also of entire towns.
“By preparing for future floods, SMEs can limit the disruption caused by water damage and work with insurance companies to protect and even expand their business.”
According to the new study, medium sizes companies reported direct economic losses of 24% of their monthly turnover on average, while for smaller firms losses were a deeply concerning 113%. Areas hit hardest were equipment, business interruption and exterior repairs. It took an average of four months for businesses to return to pre-flood level of sales.
The 2019/2020 winter floods in Calderdale caused premises to close for an average of 13 days, with the loss of 57 jobs and a 31% drop in sales for the first month after flooding.
One Calderdale company has taken two precautions to protect itself from flooding.
Yorkshire Packaging Systems – the leading UK supplier in shrink and stretch wrapping machinery – is based in Brighouse but is vulnerable to flooding from a nearby hillside and river.
The company has an advanced slat system to keep the bulk of any floodwater from getting in through their warehouse doors but also have FloodSax sandless sandbags as a ‘safety net’ to make doubly sure. These can also be used inside – a FloodSax popped down a toilet can stop sewage floodwater from backing up into buildings. Read more about this here.
Local councils in the UK have no responsibility to provide sandbags and people are responsible for protecting their own homes and businesses from flooding. Some councils recommend FloodSax sandless sandbags for flood prevention which are a flexible alternative to traditional sandbags that are space-saving to store and quick and easy to deploy.
When FloodSax come into contact with water they absorb 20 litres which transforms them from being as light as a pillowcase to being more effective than traditional sandbags in less than five minutes.
In their dry state they resemble large pillowcases and their large absorbent surface area means they can soak up leaks, spills and drips in hard-to-reach places inside home and businesses.
Almost 3 million have now been sold worldwide.