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Flooding cost the UK £600m in 2012
Mar 05, 2014

Last year's flooding could have cost the UK economy up to £600 million, according to research. 

The Environment Agency said the estimated damage to all property totalled about £277 million while the impact on businesses in England was up to £200 million, including some £84 million in property damage.

Other indirect impacts – such as lost working days – hit companies and local economies by around £33 million, the EA found, and disruption to transport, communications and utility links cost up to £82 million.

While a quarter of days were officially in drought in 2012, with 20 million people affected by hosepipe bans, flooding occurred one in every five days, affecting more than 7,000 properties.

Every affected business suffered an average of £60,000 in setbacks, the latest figures showed, but flood defences protected 200,000 properties – worth up to £1.7 billion to the UK economy.

EA officials are now encouraging businesses to sign up to receive flood warnings and make a plan so they are well prepared as part of its annual Flood Awareness Campaign.

Some 175,000 businesses are at risk of flooding in England and Wales, and in a recent survey one in five members of the Federation of Small Businesses said flooding had had a negative impact on their company over the past year.

About 50% of managers reported to the Chartered Management Institute that severe weather caused disruption to their organisation in the wake of last year's floods while nearly two-thirds of UK businesses said they suffered supply chain problems because of the extreme conditions.

The EA said more businesses are coming forward to contribute to local flood defences that would otherwise not get full government funding.

Nestle, the food manufacturer, put forward nearly £2 million to new defences at the River Dove in Staffordshire near its factory at in the village of Tutbury to protect around 1,600 homes and businesses.

Since 2011, the partnership funding initiative has attracted nearly £150 million of external funding for flood defences, on top of the government's £2.3 billion investment.