It may come as a surprise that according to research conducted by the Met Office, windstorms caused greater insured losses across Europe in the winter of 2013/14 than flooding. Arising from climate change and its position lying just off the Atlantic Ocean, the UK is becoming increasingly vulnerable to devastating winds, resulting in severe property damage, public and business disruption and often death or injury.
Following this research, businesses are encouraged to consider a range of measures that can be taken to mitigate windstorm risk:
Buildings should be regularly inspected and maintained in sound condition, with particular emphasis on the condition of roofs and lightweight wall construction. Chimneys, water towers, radio masts and other tall structures should be inspected by specialist contractors, at least annually (importantly, lightning conductors protecting tall chimneys also require inspection and maintenance). Where appropriate, the appointment of a company which is a member of the Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists (ATLAS) should be considered.
Trees which overhang or are in close proximity to buildings and other structures should be inspected annually for safe condition and, where necessary, remedial action taken, preferably employing the services of an Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant or an Arboricultural Association (ARB) Approved Contractor as appropriate. All tree work should be carried out in compliance with the recommendations of BS 3998. (It is important to recognise that the subject trees may fall under a preservation order, or are situated in a conservation area. Please consult your local authority before any tree work is undertaken. Also, the felling of mature trees which have been planted in clay subsoil may pose a risk of heave of the building’s foundations; once again specialist advice should be sought before any work is carried out.)
Do you remember the St Jude Storm? 28 October 2013
• 53.6 mm of rainfall caused localised flooding
• 99mph gust of wind recorded in Isle of White
• 2 crane collapses in London
• 850,000 homes lost power
• 130 flights cancelled from Heathrow
• 4 major bridge crossings closed
• 89 foot wind turbine blown down
• 100’s of trees fallen
Statistics source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Jude_storm