COMPANIES in Huddersfield have been urged to join a bid to combat flooding.

The Environment Agency said firms had to be better prepared as climate change made extreme weather more likely.

Figures from the Environment Agency showed almost 7,000 businesses were flooded out during the deluge of last summer – with total damage estimated at about £1.3bn.

A spokesman said: “Small businesses are more at risk from flooding than fire – and the effects can be 30 times as costly as burglary.

“Yet many businesses still do not have any measures in place to protect their property or staff from flooding.”

The spokesman said firms could check whether their premises were in an area at risk of river or coastal flooding by using the Environment Agency’s free online postcode checker.

Businesses at risk could register for the free Floodline Warnings Direct service, providing flood warnings by telephone, mobile phone, e-mail, fax or pager whenever a flood warning is issued in the area.

Even firms sited well away from rivers or the coast should formulate a “flood plan” to deal with problems as they could still be affected by surface water flooding in cases where drainage systems are unable to deal with intense rainfall.

The plan should include a list of important contacts, a map showing key equipment, protective materials and service shut-off points and basic strategies to protect property, ensure staff safety and minimise business disruption if a flood occurs.

The spokesman said businesses should check that their insurance policy covered all types of flooding, understand the different flood warning codes and what they mean in practice and ensure that staff were familiar with flood safety procedures.

They should also know how to shut off gas, electric and water supplies, make sure valuable stock can be stored above level and consider investing in flood protection equipment.

For details, go to or call Floodline on 0845 9881188.