AN INSURER based in Stratford is urging farmers to have measures in place to prevent their businesses, and homes, going up in smoke.
NFU Mutual, on Tiddington Road, revealed that the cost of farm fires in the Midlands reached £11.7million in 2021 – a rise of 80.5 per cent.
The East of England was the worst affected region by cost, totalling £16.3m. While across the whole of the UK, farm fires totalled £95.6million.
Electrical faults were the biggest known cause of blazes last year and large-scale farm arson attacks shot up from £4.7million in 2020 to £8.4million in 2021.
Biomass boiler fires also continued to increase last year and as many installations begin to age, people are being urged to carry out regular maintenance checks.
Andy Manson, Head of Risk Management Services at NFU Mutual, said: “Farm fires put lives at risk, as well as cause disruptive and devastating damage to farm businesses.
“To help protect their businesses, farmers should put fire prevention and control plans in place, such as regularly reviewing their fire risk assessment and acting on the findings.
“Most fires are preventable by carrying out routine maintenance and inspection on heating systems, electrical installations and machinery, and controlling hot works within farm workshops.
“Implementing and maintaining good standards of housekeeping, particularly around the storage of combustibles and flammables such as hay, straw and fuels, will also reduce the risk of a fire spreading.”
NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist Hannah Binns added: “We are very concerned about the rising UK cost of arson attacks, which is a frightening prospect considering farms are not only farmers’ place of work but often their family home.
“We are urging everyone to be on their guard and improve their security to help prevent their business going up in smoke.”