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Flooding can happen very quickly. It can affect many homes and businesses, even if they're not directly at risk

Many people think that flooding will never happen to them - but it could. Almost five million people in England are at risk of flooding; this is set to increase with a changing climate. Our local area is at risk of fluvial, groundwater and surface water flooding. 

When a property does flood, it has a huge impact on individuals, businesses and communities. Return to normal life can take months. 

Planning against flooding

You can't always stop flooding. However, you can reduce its impact by planning ahead.

If you live in a flood risk area, do what you can now to reduce the risk to yourself and your property. Don't wait until flooding occurs as you may not have enough time to do anything. 

You can prepare yourself for flooding by:

  • checking your flood risk
  • making sure you have adequate buildings and contents insurance cover. Tell your insurance company if you live in a flood risk area
  • being alert and knowing how flood warnings will be issued. You can sign up for flood warnings
  • Prepare a personal Flood Plan - download a template to help you complete your own flooding emergency plan
  • creating a simple flood defence

Here's a step-by-step guide to make your own flood defence:

  1. Check how many ground floor doors, patio doors, catflaps and airbricks there are in your home
  2. Get enough plastic sheeting to cover all of these gaps. Leave a minimum 80cm overlap around the edges. For doors, cut plywood (or a similar material) to cover the doorway and hold the sheeting in place
  3. Get bags that can be filled with sand or soil. These will hold the sheeting in contact with the ground. Try not to overfill them as you have to carry them and put them in place.

During an emergency

During an emergency, or when there are flood warnings:

  • If there is an imminent risk to life or property, always contact the emergency services on 999.
  • Check for flood warnings from the Environment Agency
  • Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 (calls charged at local rates)
  • Listen to local radio for updates
    • BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 95.7 and 96FM
    • Heart 103FM
  • Standby for advice from emergency services

You can reach our telephone contact centre on 01354 654321. 

After a flood warning

You should: 

  • alert your neighbours
  • move people, pets and valuables to a safe place
  • check your car. Move it to higher ground if possible
  • switch off your gas and electricity supplies (if flooding is imminent)


Our policy is not to provide sandbags to residents or businesses.

However, in very exceptional circumstances, we will try to provide sandbags or other assistance to residents in domestic properties that are at risk of serious flooding. Businesses are not covered by this service. Our limited stock of sandbags are prioritised for 'collective protection' e.g across a road, river bank etc.

If your home or business is likely to flood, you should keep a stock of ready to use sandbags and/or sand. You can buy sandbags from hardware shops. Plastic bags filled with soil are also a good alternative. 

Flood risk management

Cambridgeshire County Council is a Lead Local Flood Authority (under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010) with the responsibility for managing surface water flooding, ordinary watercourses and groundwater flooding.

Visit the County Council's website for further information.

Watercourse management

For more information on watercourse management, ordinary watercourse consent, responsibility for drains and sewers and landowner riparisn responsibility, visit the Cambridgeshire County Council website.

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