Contingency planning for Brexit is taking up a lot of time at top exporters Playdale Playgrounds, its managing director has revealed.

Barry Leahey MBE said while Europe accounted for just 15 per cent of the Haverthwaite-headquartered playground company’s overseas trade, contingency planning for when Britain leaves the European Union was taking up the overwhelming majority of its export team’s time.

Mr Leahey, who was crowned Businessperson of the Year at the recent in-Cumbria Business Awards, said: “Brexit is taking a lot of bandwidth, if I’m honest.

“Europe only accounts for 15 per cent of our exports, so it is not a huge number. But don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t want to lose that overnight.

“It is probably taking up 85 per cent of our export team’s time contingency planning.

"This includes ensuring we have continuity of supply, certification in place, that our intellectual property is protected, finances are protected and forecasting currency movements.

“We strive to provide fantastic customer service, but I see Brexit as a potential hiccough. It could be we have a delay of a few days, but a delay is a delay.

“We have built a fantastic reputation globally and obviously we want to protect that.”

Playdale Playgrounds exports to 49 countries, with more than half of the equipment it designs, manufactures and distributes from south Cumbria heading overseas.

The company has developed playgrounds in countries including China, South Korea and India, and, closer to home, at Wallace Park in Lisburn, Northern Ireland – the biggest playground in Europe.

The award-winning business has seen a meteoric rise primarily because of an aggressive export strategy designed by Mr Leahey when he first joined as sales and marketing director before taking the top job in 2015.

“We have a worldly outlook because there are only so many play areas in Cumbria,” he said.

“Our heart is in Cumbria and we’re proud to do work here but there’s more to the world that what is directly in front of you.”

Mr Leahey also told Insider's recent International Trade Forum that Commonwealth countries would be the most logical trading partners for the UK after Brexit, set to take place on March 29 next year.

He said a third of the world’s population are in Commonwealth countries, where it is 19 per cent cheaper to trade than non-Commonwealth countries due, in part, to legislation.

He also revealed that the British Standards Institute's post-Brexit plan was for greater trade within the Commonwealth.

Mr Leahey is a regular contributor to Government strategy on export and finance and has helped more than 200 businesses in the North West.

Last year, he received an MBE for his services to UK trade and investment and exports, having been nominated for the honour by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.