Two-fifths of London firms at risk of climate-fuelled flash floods

London is facing an increasingly urgent problem as climate change increases the risk of flash floods. The capital's 42% at-risk commercial buildings are vulnerable to surface water flooding, which caused chaos last summer when torrential downpours hit London.
Imagine a city where every commercial or mixed-use property is mapped against areas at risk of flooding from heavy rain. This analysis by insurer Zurich UK reveals the potential impact on London's economy due to climate driven weather patterns.
David Nichols, Zurich UK’s Chief Claims Officer, warns that failing to prepare for more regular bouts of heavy rain could have a knock-on impact on London’s economy which accounts for a quarter of the UK's GDP.
The Met Office has issued a new forecast that suggests how extreme rainfall will likely change over time. The report finds 30mm of rain per hour - the threshold for flash flooding- could be two and half times more likely in London by 2070, compared with 1990s levels.
Having said this, it should also be noted what we know today about climate change means many associated aspects can already been seen happening all around us, including rising sea levels which mean higher risks from coastal storms.
London is facing an infrastructure crisis as it continues to expand at a rapid pace. The capital's antiquated sewage system can no longer keep up with demand, leading directly into increased surface water flooding and stress on pumping stations that were never meant for this type of workload.
The solution? Sustainable Drainage Systems. In order to help reduce flooding and storm water pollution, there are several green alternatives for drainage systems. One of these is using porous pavements that allow rainwater infiltration, instead of directly exposing landscapes or buildings to attacks by surface waters running off residential rooftops - this can even be done at park edges! The SuDS technique also reduces urban runoff into our sewers when we change what goes on top: think about installing greenery in parks so it never has too much room left: underneath-ground spaces will do just fine.

Five ways to protect your business from flooding

Check your flood risk – whether you’ve operated from the same location for years, or recently moved in, assess the long-term flood risk in your area and sign up for flood warnings.
Protect your property – take action to make your business more resilient to flooding.  This can reduce the impact of floodwaters and help you return to business sooner. Actions range from cost-free measures such as shifting expensive equipment to higher floors and regularly backing up data, to moving plug sockets higher up and investing in non-return valves, to stop sewers backing up.
Prepare a flood plan – if your business is in a flood-prone area, do what you can to prepare for a flood now.  This can include drafting a flood plan so you have crucial information to hand, such as key locations for electricity cut off, and a list of actions if a flood is imminent, such as moving stock or computer servers.
Write a business continuity plan – make sure you factor in climate shocks, such as floods, into your business continuity plan.  Having a plan in place can help you prepare for the unexpected and keep your business running if disaster strikes.
Carry out a climate risk assessment– work with experts to identify how current and future climate change could impact the operations of your business.  The more you know about the risk, the better you can prepare.

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