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2,500 HOMES AT FLOOD RISK’

PUBLISHED: 17:27 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:41 23 August 2010

BUSINESSES in flood risk areas are urged to prepare for extreme weather conditions as flood damage last summer cost £1.3 billion. Environment Agency chiefs say thousands of homes and businesses in north Kent face a significant to low risk from floodi

BUSINESSES in flood risk areas are urged to prepare for extreme weather conditions as flood damage last summer cost £1.3 billion.

Environment Agency chiefs say thousands of homes and businesses in north Kent face a 'significant' to 'low' risk from flooding this summer.

In Gravesham about 2,500 properties have been identified as possible flood risk areas with the increase in freak weather being blamed for unexpected flooding.

With climate change likely to increase experts warn small businesses, many that have never been affected before, will be at great risk this summer.

Last summer alone, nearly 7,000 businesses across the UK flooded, with the total damage to businesses estimated at around £1.3 billion, many had never flooded before.

Chief Executive Barbara Young said: "We know that small businesses have limited time and resources but with climate change putting increasing numbers of businesses at risk of flooding, investing some time in preparation now could really pay dividends in the future.

"By checking their flood risk and following our simple preparation guide, businesses can cut the cost of damage by as much as 90 per cent and make sure they are protecting their staff and premises."

Despite 2,500 properties considered a risk in Gravesham only 20 per cent of those identified in the borough have signed up to a scheme alerting them when flooding is likely.

The Environment Agency's Flood Warnings Direct service allows residents to receive flood warnings by telephone, mobile, fax or pager.

North Kent has experienced strange weather conditions in the last month. Strong winds battered the county then up to eight inches of snow fell this month. It was followed by torrential downpours, hailstones and bright sunshine.

Those who are at risk can register for the free Floodline Warnings Direct service that provides flood warnings by telephone, mobile, e-mail, fax or pager.

Business owners can also find advice in the website and a postcode check allows you to see if your property is at risk.

l Call the Floodline on 08459 881188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk

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