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A guide to flooding for businesses in Manchester

Chris Macdonald - Sales Director - SafeGroup


Chris Macdonald

4 min read

Storm Christoph has been busy doing its worst across the North West of England, resulting in flooding of many businesses and around 2,000 homes across South Manchester.

The main areas affected have been Didsbury and Northenden, in Greater Manchester, Bangor, in North Wales, parts of Cheshire, and York, in North Yorkshire. In some cases, thankfully, water will soon recede in some of these areas, allowing flood clean-ups and recovery to begin.

As of the afternoon of Thursday 21st January, three severe flood warnings, representing a danger to life, 160 flood warnings, requiring immediate action, and 187 flood alerts, warning communities to be prepared, were in place across England alone.



It is a timely reminder that taking decisive action to protect against flooding caused by severe weather events is now an essential part of business planning across the UK, pretty much no matter where you are located.

Streams and sewers that previously caused no problems are now overflowing with greater frequency. For example, south Manchester has been hit by floors several times over recent years, most notably in December 2015.

How to know if your business is in a flood risk area of Manchester

Some of the higher-risk areas will be those surrounding some of Manchester’s local rivers, like the River Irwell, River Mersey, River Irk and River Medlock. There are not necessarily the only areas at risk of flooding, however.

Manchester Salford flooding


There are a number of resources available which will help you determine the likelihood of a flood hitting your business. The Environment Agency is one such source, with a flood map available. You can even register your business for free and receive flood warnings if there is a chance of an incident in your area.

Who is responsible for managing Manchester’s flood risks?

As of 2007, it was determined by the government that local councils would handle responsibility for prevention and handling of flooding.

River Mersey Flooding


As a result, local authorities, such as Manchester City Council, which covers Didsbury, work in conjunction with other organisations to manage local flood risk strategy and investigate flooding incidents.

The council is also responsible for flooding which occurs on standard roads, and from public drains, and should be contacted if either of these arise. The Environment Agency is responsible for managing and responding to flooding from rivers – see their contact details here (in the case of a river flood emergency, contact Floodline on 0345 988 1188). If a public sewer or drain floods in Manchester, the responsibility falls with United Utilities – call 0345 6723 723 in this instance.

What to do in the case of your business being flooded

It is important that your business is prepared with a flooding plan in advance of any incident actually occurring. This includes contacting the appropriate authorities, timely evacuation of all staff and carrying out other precautions such as turning off the water and electricity supply where possible. Being prepared with a flood plan ensures that any disaster is dealt with safely and effectively on your company premises.

Manchester street flood


The property should be left vacated whilst any flood risk remains. When it is safe to return, it is time to assess any damage and proceed with flooding clean-up. Any residual floodwater will need to be pumped out of your building, and appropriate cleaning and dehumidifying processes applied to return the setting to useable condition and ensure that damp and mould are avoided.

Water-damaged items such as equipment, stock and room furnishings will need to be disposed of and replaced where necessary.

Cleaning up a property that’s suffered floodwater damage is an extensive operation that benefits from specialist equipment and knowledge. That is why we’d always recommend hiring a qualified flood clean-up company to ensure that your company’s property is back in operation as soon as possible.

Flood cleaning experts

It is perfectly possible to make matters worse and more costly after a flood by not carrying out flood water cleaning properly, leading to building damage, additional property loss and even long-term ill health, as problems such as damp and mould growth can contribute to serious respiratory conditions.

SafeGroup has years of experience in repairing water damaged premises in Manchester and across the UK, so don’t hesitate to get in touch for a fast resolution.

For flood recovery and clean-up advice and a fast response to flooding emergencies, call us on 0800 668 1268.

Chris Macdonald - Sales Director - SafeGroup
About the author

Chris Macdonald

Chris has strategic responsibility for sales development and major accounts management at SafeGroup. He was a professional footballer with Southampton FC until a series of injuries ended his career while still a teenager. Chris began working as a helpdesk controller for a national FM company in 2004. By 2013 he was its managing director. From there he joined SafeGroup in 2018, bringing with him huge expertise plus the energy, enthusiasm and drive that would have surely made him a success in the Premier League. He does, however, still enjoy playing football.

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