Personal responsibility - being prepared for flooding

Unfortunately we may never be able to prevent all flooding in urban areas, but the key to limiting the damage to property in such areas is the preparedness of the individual.

We are working hard to plan for and reduce flood risk in the county, but this is no substitute for flood preparedness on the household scale.

Flood preparedness

The first step to flood preparedness is checking if your property or workplace is in an area prone to or at risk of flooding.

This can be done by searching by postcode on the flood maps for planning (opens in a new window) or by contacting us for site specific information on surface water flood risk.

If you live or work in an area identified as at risk on these maps, then it is strongly advised that you follow guidance on preparing for flooding.

Floodline warnings direct

As part of your household preparation for possible flooding you should register for the Environment Agency's Floodline Warnings Direct service.

This is a free service which sends you a direct message when flooding is expected and may affect your property. You can receive warnings by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message or fax - whichever you'd prefer.

Sign up for flood warnings (opens in a new window).

Flood insurance

It is essential that you ensure that your property's insurance covers damage from flooding. There has recently been a great deal of publicity covering this subject and the Flood Insurance Statement of Principles which ensures fair insurance for properties in high risk areas.

For more information on flood insurance visit the National Flood Forum (opens in a new window) or tel: 01743 714725.

Personal flood plan

As well as preparing your property for possible flooding, you are advised to make a personal flood plan for yourself and your family, or your business.

This plan should detail what practical actions you will take before and during a flood which will help to reduce the damage flooding could cause.

GOV.UK provides some guidance on making a flood plan (opens in a new window).

Please do not wait until a flood happens to make these plans as there may not be enough time to prepare fully.


We supply empty sandbags (as it is impractical to distribute full ones) to town and parish councils to distribute to those residents at risk from flooding.

You can buy sandbags, and other flood defence products, for your own use from most DIY stores.

Managing surface water flood risk

It is our responsibility to maintain the drainage system for the road network ensuring it efficiently removes surface water from paved surfaces.

We will routinely clear gullies (road gutters) to keep them in good working order, however they may become blocked very quickly when materials like mud, stones or leaves are carried on to the road during heavy rainfall. As an individual, we ask that you:

  • Ensure your activities do not adversely affect the performance of surface water gullies. Please do not put any solids (such as leaves, soil or litter) into gullies, and sweep leaves on your property before they are blown/washed into the drainage network.

  • Report any gully blockages or highway flooding and log any surface water flooding incidents (opens in a new window). For foul sewer blockages and water main flooding, please report the fault to your local water company.

  • Ensure you keep private drains on your property clear and in good working order. If they become blocked, please call a drainage contractor to deal with the blockage.

How to make your home more flood resilient

Broadly speaking there are four key strategies in defending your property and possessions against flood waters:

  1. Prevent water, particularly in short or minor flood events, from getting into your property.

  2. Delay flood water from getting into the building if flooding is more severe, giving you extra time to move your possessions to safety and evacuate.

  3. Limit the damage to furniture, electricals, walls, floors, fixtures and fittings if flood water gets into the building.

  4. Make it easier, faster and cheaper to clean up and recover from flood damage, so that you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible.

These four steps are clearly very broad.

Information on other websites