Comment – Every cloud…

Flooding in the North of England could bring an unexpected windfall for demolition firms.

“They said there’d be snow at Christmas, they said there’ll be peace on Earth. But instead it just kept on raining…” Never have the words of Greg Lake’s 1974 classic “I believe in Father Christmas” been quite so apposite.

Wars, conflicts and skirmishes continue across the globe, giving lie to the suggestion that we are an even remotely civilised society. Meanwhile, in vast swathes of the North of England, Christmas 2015 will be remembered not for the gifts, gathering of families, or any sudden outbreak of goodwill to all men but for the deluge of rainwater that has washed away homes, destroyed businesses, and left parts of Cumbria and Lancashire looking like the aftermath of God’s wrath.

But, if you’ll pardon the pun, every cloud has a silver lining. And with the after effects of Storm Desmond that wreaked havoc on residents of Cumbria estimated to cost more than half a billion pounds, demolition contractors in the North of England could be standing on the verge of a workload glut.

Of course, no-one wants to profit from another man’s hardship. But demolition contractors possess a unique set of skills, often with an equipment fleet to match. So when it comes to making buildings safe, dismantling the remnants of bridges partly swept away by the torrent, or demolishing entirely structures undermined by millions of litres of water and the debris carried within, no-one has the skills of an experienced demolition engineer.

And maybe, just maybe, that spike in demand is well-deserved. The North of England was one of the first regions to feel the full effect of the recession when it hit in 2008. Contractors in the North of England were among the worst-hit as demand fell to levels lower than anything in living memory. And the North was one of the last to emerge when the recessionary tide receded.

When the real waters recede this time, maybe it is appropriate that those demolition contractors in the North of England should receive this belated Christmas gift.