The Environment Agency operates a flood warning system, giving information to the public, media, emergency services and local Authorities.
Using the latest available technology, staff monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions 24 hours a day and use this information to forecast the possibility of flooding. If flooding is forecast, warnings are issued using a set of four easily recognisable codes. The following codes are used:
- Flood Watch - Flooding possible. Be aware! Be prepared! Watch out!
- Flood Warning - Flooding expected affecting homes, businesses and main roads. Act now!
- Severe Flood Warning - Severe flooding expected. Imminent danger to life and property.
- All Clear - An all clear will be issued when flood watches or warnings are no longer in force.
For more information on the current flooding situation, visit the Environment Agency website.
When there is a risk of flooding the Agency issues warnings through the media; they are broadcast on TV weather bulletins and on radio weather and travel reports. Make sure you know which is your local radio station.
Flood warnings are also displayed on ITV Teletext regional weather pages (page 154) and on BBC Ceefax (page 419).
The Environment Agency provides the Floodline Service - Telephone Number 0845 988 1188 . You can listen to recorded flood warning information or speak to an operator for general information and advice 24 hours a day.
What this Council Will Do
The Council's approach to providing emergency assistance during times of flooding is as follows:
- The Council has no legal responsibility to provide assistance to residents during times of flood, however the Council has provided emergency assistance on an ad hoc basis dependent upon local knowledge and experience of the situation.
- The Council will provide sandbags or other such equipment as it feels appropriate, if they are available, to assist with the defence from flooding to persons or property within the area.
- The Council will keep a stock of filled sandbags during times of potential flooding to aid the speed of response. The Council will deliver the sandbags or other equipment where the owner/occupier is unable to collect them from Council's depot. It will be the responsibility of the property owner/occupier to dispose of the sandbags once they are satisfied the risk of flooding has subsided.
- The Council will provide engineering advice on ways residents can alleviate the risk of flooding to their properties if requested and issue general guidance to all properties in the area of their roles and responsibilities under the Land Drainage Act 1991. The Council will provide, if possible, during times of severe flooding, engineering advice on site to assist with the use of resources and control the situation where appropriate.
- The Council will assist with the dissemination of Environment Agency flood warnings where appropriate. The Council will keep the necessary equipment at their depot to carry out the above functions, or have facilities to get access to the appropriate equipment rapidly.
- Very serious flooding resulting in the need for evacuation of houses, provision of temporary accommodation and the like is covered by the Council's Emergency Plan.
Events over the past few winters have demonstrated that exceptional storms can cause flooding even on hill slopes, when the drainage system is simply overwhelmed by the amount of water it is expected to carry.
In addition, when the ground is saturated even small additional amounts of rainfall will find it difficult to drain away from gardens and enclosed spaces.
The Council, at times of emergency, will be endeavouring to protect the public at large and will not be able to assist a large number of individual homeowners who may find their properties threatened.