The South coast of Britain was ravaged by stormy weather again last night, with thousands of people left without power. Severe flood warnings have been put in place, as the country faces another round of storms in what has been one of the wettest winters on record. And the weather could have a major part to play on the economy, with the recent reading of the Water Bill at the end of January determining that thousands of properties in flood risk areas will not be entitled to compulsory insurance cover. What impact will this have on the regional economy, particularly in areas already battered by flooding?
The severe weather across parts of the UK has had a devastating effect on many communities across the country. In Liverpool, we have been fairly lucky, with the worst of the weather missing us. But in parts of the country, particularly the South coast and the Somerset Levels, the effects have been much more keenly felt.
The village of Muchelney in Somerset, has been one of the communities highlighted by the BBC as having suffered quite badly from the flooding. Mulcheney is a small community, with both residential and commercial properties. The village has been cut off for the last month, and yesterday received a visit from Prince Charles, who was horrified at the way floods had left the villagers stranded. He told locals, “there’s nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something. The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long.”
Usually, households affected by flooding are entitled to Flood Relief but the government’s recent Water Bill has dictated that commercial premises will soon not be covered by the scheme.
For those affected by flooding, this could be a potentially devastating development. Insurance rates are already high in Muchelney. One resident, Ron Smith told the BBC that following floods in 2012 his insurance went up by five times to £5,000. He was expecting that figure to triple this year. He told the BBC, “we would like to sell the property, but how can we? You can’t put a price on that.”
His reaction was one of “pure anger.”
Business has come to a standstill in the village, with one businessman John Leach telling reporters, “it’s stopped business, we are actually marooned and we had to close down on the 5th or 6th January – it’s a nightmare…it’s so depressing, we love our work and it’s so frustrating.”
There are fears that regular flooding could see businesses in flood risk areas unable to afford appropriate insurance. Not to mention the material damage caused by regular floods. Adding that to the potential financial risks of running a business and we could see damage being done to regional economies.
Protect Yourself from Flood Damage
The recent storms are testament to the kind of damage that the weather can do. But there is a way you can protect yourself from this kind of damage, with a full building survey for commercial or residential property. By giving your building a comprehensive inspection, we can provide guidance as to the risks of purchasing the property, and give recommendations for specialist investigations.
Sadly, for the people of the Somerset Levels, it might be too late. They can only hope that when the waters subside, the damage is not too severe.