In February, Storm Ciara battered much of the UK leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. High winds causes problems for all sorts of industries, not least the transportation sector, but they also cause numerous problems for large landowners, smallholders and in the agricultural industries, too. What’s more, we know from direct personal experience that not all damage from storms – in the form of floods and strong winds – will always be covered by insurance. Sometimes indirect damage can occur which your premiums simply won’t cover. In such circumstances, it is best to be prepared. That’s where our services can be so beneficial, of course.
On the face of it, groundworks contractors can do very little about an oncoming storm but there are measures which can – and should – be taken. Where a demolition job is underway, for example, ensuring the site is safe is a prerequisite for all good contracting firms. This means making sure that nothing can potentially blow off from the site and onto a neighbouring property, of course.
Where lakes and ponds have been excavated, measures should be taken to make sure that land slippage does not occur. Of course, this goes for any form of excavation work or land levelling, especially when exceptional rainfall is forecast. Preventing all rainwater from getting into excavation works may not always be feasible but ensuring there is adequate run-off should be. Sometimes, judicious use of sandbags is all that is needed to prevent excavations from being flooded by simply diverting water away.
Some of the most important work to get done before strong winds hit is to ensure that trees and large shrubs can cope with them. It is cheaper and easier to pollard a tree or to remove it completely than to deal with the potential destruction it might bring if it were to come down in storms. Inspect your trees, especially those which are in exposed patches of land or on high ground, to ensure they are in good health. Those which are not are less likely to be able to withstand storms like Ciara.
Another important aspect of our work is to undertake ditch clearances. This will help to ensure your fields do not become unnecessarily waterlogged, of course. In addition, good draining ditches by farm tracks and public roads will help to ensure they remain passable even when there is plenty of standing water to cope with.
In addition, we think that it is always advisable to keep fences and hedges in good condition for the sort of damage that storms can throw at them. Checking on fence posts and clipping back on excessive hedge growth can mean they are able to withstand the sort of wind speeds we have seen in the heart of the country in recent years. It is not just landowners who have a property boundary close to the coast to maintain who now need to start taking this sort of work more seriously. So batten down the hatches and stay safe people …