Case Study

Flood Risk and Resilience

Businesses and communities need to manage and adapt to the risks posed by the climate/weather changes we are already seeing to ensure they can prepare, response and recover in the most cost effective and timely way.  Flooding is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the UK and since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood event every year.

What our clients need:

  • To build business resilience to climate change and extreme weather events.
  • A better understanding of the risk that flooding presents to their site and how to prepare for a flood event.
  • Advice and practical support on how to respond and recover from an extreme weather event.
  • Site specific training on flooding and wider climate change issues.
  • Help to design and implement sustainable drainage systems (SUDS).

How we help:

  • Provide advice and support to develop a flood resilience / emergency plan for before, during and after a flood event.
  • Provide advice on the appropriate triggers that can be received to provide a warning for a flood event.
  • Develop response plans outlining who is involved and their requirements.
  • Provide advice on flood resilience and resistant products.
  • Assist in gaining funding for resilience and resistant measures.
  • Delivery of site specific awareness-raising training.
  • Consultation with clients to develop SUDS designs.
  • Implementation of SUDS.

Even if your business or community has never flooded before, it is important to take steps to prepare. Flooding can come from a variety of sources not just the rivers and sea and most recently extreme rainfall has caused surface water and sewer flooding to area that may never have suffered in the past.

Recent flooding events have affected businesses that hadn’t flooded before and as a consequence they were not prepared. Taking some steps to prepare now could dramatically reduce the impact of a flood in the future, even though you might think it may never happen. It’s also worth noting that a recent Association of British Insurers (ABI) study revealed that 80% of businesses that do not have an emergency plan in place do not recover from a major incident such as a flood, even when insurance is in place to cover financial losses.

Flood Emergency Planning

This involves us visiting the business or community and discussing how flooding could affect them. We then usually conduct a tour of the site to get an overview of how the site is laid out and see where would be affected in the event of a flood. During the visit we ask questions to find out if the site has any plans or procedures to follow in the event of a flood, and how the site might currently be managing their flood risk.  We identify vulnerable areas that may need specific attention and protection. We give advice for improvements on the day, and then we would provide a report with key observations and recommendations. Advice and support can be ongoing to fully develop procedures. 

We work closely with the Environment Agency, Local Authorities and other Agencies to communicate problems and look at possible solutions to help manage flooding.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)

SUDS take a number of forms, all of which can be adapted to find the best solution for specific site problems. These range from small measures such as water butts to more comprehensive measures such as filter strips, swales, permeable surfaces, infiltration devices, basins and ponds. Many of the design options have the added advantage of being aesthetically pleasing, improving the landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and can also be used for recreational purposes. Rainwater may also be collected without charge (although a number of constraints exist) and used on site where mains water would normally be used e.g. in processes, for washing equipment or floors and for flushing toilets.

SUDS are useful in tackling 2 main issues relating to existing poor drainage methods:

  • Flooding – rainwater is attenuated, allowing some infiltration to occur before the rainwater enters a watercourse at a slower, more controlled rate.
  • Pollution – by slowing the flow of water, silt, oils and other pollutants can be settled out, removed and broken down naturally before they enter watercourses.

By reducing the flood and pollution risks of a site, costs associated with cleanup, mitigation and prosecution will be reduced in the future.

For guidance on how to minimise the impact of flooding, visit the flooding page in our Knowledge Centre.