The sun may be shining, but now is the perfect time to check your flood risk

Last winter’s flooding across northern England and Scotland affected hundreds of commercial properties, with major towns and cities such as York and Leeds worst-hit. Occupiers large and small were forced out of their premises while costly repairs were undertaken and landlords faced losing tenants who were determined not to go through it all again.

Decision-making in the immediate aftermath of such devastating flooding, when emotions are high and the impacts raw, can result in knee-jerk reactions and lead to unsatisfactory outcomes. Landlords may feel pressured into investing in flood protection measures to persuade tenants to remain, regardless of whether the measures are effective or appropriate given the circumstances. Tenants themselves may react to extremely rare events as if they should expect a repeat every year, ignoring the many other positive factors associated with a site or building.

The short-term memories may have now faded and for many (with the exception of those flooded during recent thunderstorms) flood risk seems less of an issue as thoughts turn to summer holidays, sporting events and barbecues. In actual fact, now is the perfect time to get on top of flooding as an issue, avoiding expensive and irrational reactions to events and preparing for flooding in advance. This is particularly true for those managing a large number of assets, where the scale of the problem may mean that at-risk assets have not yet been identified.

With our advice, forward-thinking institutional investors are increasingly looking to assess their exposure to flood risk across their portfolios. This is helping them adapt their strategy when investing in floodplain areas, to avoid putting themselves at risk of losses in future and demonstrate sound environmental practice to shareholders and investors. Expert advice not only allows investors/landlords to identify and deal with their high risk assets, but also to document reduced risk where building arrangement, flood defences or detailed local information show a lower risk rating than suggested by government or insurance flood maps.

With climate change likely to increase the frequency of future flooding, flood risk is only going to become more important for those owning and managing commercial property. As more and more institutional investors take this type of proactive approach, the impact of a flood risk designation on asset value and attractiveness to tenants will be more marked, such that competitors cannot afford to be left behind holding those assets that others have shunned.


Environmental, Flood risk,
Ian Joyner

Ian Joyner

Associate Director

Environmental Consultancy

+44(0) 20 3214 1960