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Chamber urges businesses to prepare flood-resilience plans

Rob Johnston

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is advising businesses to prepare in case the county is hit by serious flooding this winter.

To mark Flood Resilience Awareness Week (September 21-25), it is promoting a flood resilience toolkit for businesses compiled by the Know Your Flood Risk campaign.

Chamber Chief Executive Rob Johnston said: “We’re saying to businesses, take a look at this toolkit to see what measures you can implement to minimise disruption.

“It’s about ensuring that, if disaster strikes, you limit the damage and start trading again as quickly as possible.

“The Chamber was at the forefront of the flood recovery effort after Cumbria suffered catastrophic floods in 2005, 2009 and 2015. We know how damaging flooding can be.

“We sincerely hope there’s no repeat this winter but businesses need to be ready just in case.

“Many of the flood-defence schemes drawn up in response to Storm Desmond in 2015 have yet to be completed, so the risk of another major flood remains real and tangible.”

He added: “Businesses have been so preoccupied with Covid-19 this year it would be understandable if flood resilience has dropped off the radar.

“But this remains a live issue and we’re keen that businesses consider the risks and do what they can to mitigate them.”

The toolkit covers types of flooding, how to find out if your business is at risk, drawing up a flood plan, reducing potential damage, what to do after a flood and dealing with insurers.

It also includes a case study setting out how a retailer in Kendal improved its resilience after being flooded in 2015.

The toolkit is available on the Chamber’s website at https://www.cumbriachamber.co.uk/news/29032-toolkit-how-to-make-your-business-flood-resilient

Cumbria Chamber gave evidence last year to a Parliamentary Select Committee that was investigating the impacts of flooding on businesses.

The Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee adopted the Chamber’s central recommendation – calling for a change in the way flood defence schemes are evaluated – as part of its interim report.

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