Strategic approach needed to enhance local economy flood resilience

Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank have caused severe damage and economic losses across the Northern Powerhouse area and its rural hinterland. It covered Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire, as well as parts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Recovery from this damage will take time for individuals and households and may have potentially longer term impacts for the businesses in these areas that are of crucial importance to local economies.

Small, and specifically micro businesses (those with less than 10 employees), are over-represented in some of the worst hit local authority areas. These include Eden (Glenridding) and Ribble Valley (Ribchester and Whalley), plus Aberdeenshire in Scotland and Monmouthshire in Wales.

These businesses are often the least prepared, most severely affected and least able to recover from flood events. There’s often damages to assets, access to supplies and customers, and hikes in insurance premiums. Whilst Government is stepping in to provide funding for immediate recovery efforts, there is a need for a more concerted strategic approach to improving the flood resilience of small businesses in terms of business support, power, transport and ICT infrastructure.

Reducing the economic costs

Local Enterprise Partnerships and Combined Authorities have increased powers and responsibilities in relation to business support and infrastructure. Guidance requires that they create an environment which enables private investment in growth by supporting confidence and making it attractive for businesses to invest. They should also ensure that strategies and activities take full account of the opportunities and risks of climate change. In doing so, it is essential that an environment for sustainable business growth is created that embeds and promotes adaptive capacity. This should help reduce the economic costs of flooding and reduce dependence on traditional flood defence schemes.

Since the first floods in early December, our staff have been on the ground supporting the recovery efforts in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire including over Christmas and the New Year. This has provided us with some unique insights into the impacts of the recent floods for businesses. As the emphasis moves from emergency response to recovery, JBA, and its partner Development Economics, is keen to support the enhancement of local economic resilience. We’ll advise on strategic plans, undertake climate change risk assessments and adaptation planning, develop local resilience business support programmes and advise individual small businesses on appropriate property level protection measures.

Want to know more?

Please get in touch so that we can improve the resilience of our local economies together. You can contact Rachel Brisley, our lead for Climate Change and Sustainability, or Steve Lucas, Development Economics. You can also find out more on our flood resilience web pages.

The team at Development Economics are experts at understanding local economies. They have specific experience in conducting economic impact assessments, feasibility studies, funding bids, and regeneration strategies.

JBA Flood Resilience Poster          JBA Flood Resilience Poster

Leave a Reply