Severe weather that leads to flooding is becoming a part of the changing UK weather and it is important for people to be as prepared as they can be.
It can have a huge impact on individuals, businesses and communities, and return to normal life can take months, so acting early can make a significant difference.
This pages covers a range of flooding advice:
- During an flood
- What should I do when flooding is imminent?
- Be prepared for flooding
- Who is responsible for managing flooding in the district?
During a flood
- In the event of a flood, if there is an imminent risk to life or property, call 999
- Standby for advice from emergency services
- Call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 for advice and up-to-date information
- Check for ongoing updates on the local radio and television news or follow emergency services and local authority social media
- Contingency plans, including Rest Centres, are in place if there is a need to evacuate residents as a result of flooding
- Avoid travelling where possible. Motorists are advised not to attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and it may be moving fast. If people do need to use their cars drivers are advised to allow extra time for travelling, slow down and check their brakes, particularly after driving through floodwater
- People - especially children - should not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even in shallow, fast moving water, people can be swept off their feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains.
To report a major river flooding, contact the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807 060.
To report flooding on roads or pavements e.g. overflowing drains, visit Cambridgeshire County Council website.
To report flooding in a property, home or garden, visit the Cambridgeshire Council Council website.
To report flooding from water pipes or sewers, visit the Anglian Water website or call 03457 145 145.
What should I do when flooding is imminent?
Act early. Floodwater rises rapidly if there is a flood warning. Don't hope for the best, act early.
- Check for flood warnings from the Environment Agency
- Move your car to higher ground if possible
- Check for updates on the local radio, television news or emergency services and local authority social media sites
- Pack essential items you will need if evacuated - medication, clothing, toiletries and items for children
- Turn off the mains power and water, and put sandbags in toilet bowls to prevent sewage spilling out
- Shut windows and lock doors
- Empty freezers and refrigerators if you can, leaving doors open
- Move people, pets and valuables to a safer place (for example, upstairs)
- Leave the area if instructed to do so by the emergency services
Be prepared for 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:
- Finding out if you may be at risk of flooding
- 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. This service is free.
- Making a list of important contact numbers
- Preparing a personal Flood Plan - download a template to help you complete your own flooding emergency plan
- Knowing how to turn off gas, electricity and water supplies
- Stocking up on sandbags. Councils do not generally provide a sandbag service to residents. It is the responsibility of residents to protect their own properties from flooding. Residents concerned about flooding can purchase sandbags from builders merchants
- Creating a simple flood defence:
- Check how many ground floor doors, patio doors, catflaps and airbricks there are in your home
- 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
- 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.
Who is responsible for managing flooding in the district?
Cambridgeshire County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority and is responsible for managing:
- Surface water flooding - including rainfall that runs off surfaces such as roads, roofs and patio
- Groundwater flooding - including flooding caused by long and heavy rainfall that increases the groundwater table flooding from ordinary watercourses, such as drains and ditches, but excluding main rivers.
You can report flooding to Cambridgeshire County Council online. It may be possible to investigate the cause of flooding or offer advice. However, remember that it is the homeowner's responsibility to protect their own properties from flooding.
The Environment Agency is responsible for flooding from rivers. Contact the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807 060.
The Council does not provide a sandbag service to residents. Generally, it is the responsibility of residents to protect their own properties from flooding.
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.
For more information on watercourse management, ordinary watercourse consent, responsibility for drains and sewers and landowner riparisn responsibility, visit the Cambridgeshire County Council website.