NFU Mutual names East of England as third worst affected area by cost of farm fires in the UK
The east of England is the third worst affected area by cost for farm fires in the UK, according to leading rural insurer NFU Mutual.
In 2019, a figure of £7 million has been attributed to the cost in the region, and although that is a fall of 37% from the previous year, farm fires remain a significant risk.
The Midlands was the worst-affected region by cost in 2019, totalling £13.2m, followed by the North East of England with fire claims costs totalling £7.6m.
Additional analysis from the insurer indicates that 2020 is on track to see an even higher number of incidents and costs, in a year that saw farmers battle unforgiving weather which led to a poor harvest.
“Farm fires put the lives of people and livestock at risk as well as having a huge emotional and business impact on farmers and their families,” said Andy Manson, managing director of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd (RMS), which has a team of experts who carry out risk assessments for farms and provide health and safety advice.
“The scale of the damage we are seeing shows it’s more important than ever to reduce the risk of a fire. Farmers not only have to be mindful of the usual farm hazards such as electrical equipment, combustible material and fuel but also protect themselves from the alarming rise in arson damage.
"Many farmers are feeling particularly vulnerable this year and with straw in short supply after the poor harvest, more and more are using remote camera systems linked to mobile phones as well as fencing off straw stacks and farm buildings to discourage arsonists.”
Farm fires caused by electrical faults totalled £25 million last year. Operating in harsh environments, farm electrical systems often get wet, hot or dusty leading to short circuits and cable failures. RMS is advising farmers to have regular electrical inspections, not to overload power supplies and have enough plug sockets to avoid using multi gangs and other adapters.
NFU Mutual’s initial claims figures from January to July 2020 have seen an increase in both incidents and cost, suggesting that 2020 could be heading towards a six-year high.