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Jen Atkinson - ClimateNE

Member Article

Businesses must consider severe weather

Any smart business will determine the threats to their organisation and ensure plans are put in place to minimise risks and build resilience. Severe weather should be no exception. It is a very real and pressing threat – in fact over 60 per cent of businesses in North East England said that severe weather events from flooding and rain to heavy snow and low temperatures have adversely affected them over the past two years.

Flooding, for example, is now the most common of all disasters relating to extreme weather. Over a quarter of businesses said that flooding has adversely affected them.

The damage to property and its contents during a flood often results in months, if not years, of dislocation, disruption and expense. In fact, the average small businesses can take up to two years to recover.

Similarly, over half of North East businesses have said that snowfall has affected them badly. The heavy snow we experienced earlier this year is estimated to have cost the economy as much as £690 million. A contributing factor to this was undoubtedly the high levels of staff absenteeism due to travel disruptions or as a result of the knock-on effect of closed schools and subsequent emergency childcare needs. Deliveries were also hampered – almost a quarter of North East businesses said that failed deliveries was a notable problem and 41 per cent pointed to problems in the service and delivery chain.

Recognising and putting contingency plans in place to address the risk of severe weather is essential not only to minimise business disruption, but also to secure its very survival. AXA Insurance estimates that seven out of 10 small firms would go out of business if they experienced a major emergency during their first year, while eighty per cent of small businesses affected by major incidents close within 18 months.

It is clear that it is critical to identify if your business is at risk and if so to ensure that practical plans and the correct insurance policies are in place.

With over one-half of respondents saying that extreme weather events are becoming more severe, and nearly 60 per cent agreeing that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent this is a risk that businesses can’t ignore.

For more information visit, a specialised website aiming to help you: identify if you are at risk from the various impacts of climate change and how to build resilience; save money by reducing emissions or improving energy efficiency and so on; and identify and develop commercial opportunities and find sources of funding.

It has been developed in close collaboration with the Federation of Small Business and The North East Chamber of Commerce. It is being developed and will be updated regularly. To feedback and make suggestions, please email

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jen Atkinson - ClimateNE .

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