Businesses fear future flood risk

Flood fears: Sheffield Forgemasters' Brightside Lane works when floods hit Sheffield in 2007.
Flood fears: Sheffield Forgemasters' Brightside Lane works when floods hit Sheffield in 2007.
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Businesses in Sheffield believe the city has inadequate defences in place to cope with another severe flood.

Worries about protection for the future come at the same time as an agreement between the government and insurance industry to underwrite flood cover starts to wind down.

Research carried out by Sheffield-based IFM Insurance Brokers found that more than 90 per cent felt that the City’s current flood defence capability would not be able to cope with another flood on the scale of 2007.

IFM’s managing director, David Biggs, says the 2007 floods hit around 1,200 homes and 1,000 businesses in the city, including 50 per cent of the clients it quizzed, and adds that another flood on the same scale could have a major impact on local businesses.

“We have witnessed over the past few days how large amounts of rainfall can quickly cause major problems for motorists and businesses in the city.

“It’s also a major concern that no agreement is in place beyond 2013 to provide flood protection for the thousands of homes a risk of flooding. This is a huge issue that is not getting the focus it needs, and time is running out.

“It’s a major problem as uninsurable property may be difficult to sell; banks and mortgage lenders may not wish to lend on properties in flood risk areas.”

IFM says that if nothing is done to extend the agreement for flood cover provision between the UK government and insurers it could result in uncertainty and “prohibitively expensive” insurance premiums for local businesses and consumers seeking flood cover.

The Association of British Insurers has also warned that if there is no new agreement, up to 200,000 property owners will struggle to get affordable flood insurance when the current agreement ends in June 2013.