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Flood Prevention and Sandbags


Flood warnings from the Environment Agency (EA)

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for issuing flood warnings. Flood warnings are issued to the Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, to the relevant local authorities and the general public.  There are three levels of flood warning: Flood Alerts, Flood Warnings and Severe Flood Warnings where there is a risk to life.

The public can call the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or visit the Environment Agency flood warning website

The Environment Agency has both national and regional Twitter accounts which provide timely and accurate information. The South West regional feed can be followed here: @EnvAgencySW.

You can register to receive Environment Agency flood warnings here:  Gov.uk - Sign up for Flood Warnings

You can check whether your property is at risk of flooding here:  Gov.uk - Long Term Flood Risk

How to prepare for flooding

What to do to limit the impact of an emergency:

  • Get information on flood warnings by calling the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or by visiting the Environment Agency flood warning website

  • Make a list of important contacts. Include phone numbers for family, friends, neighbours, your children's school and GP. Carry this in your wallet or handbag and keep copies at work, home and in the car.

  • Be aware of your local flood plan and contact details for the local flood warden.

  • Arrange for a friend or relative out of your area to be the family contact point in case your family becomes separated in an emergency.

  • Acquire sandbags

  • Make up an emergency pack* including the following:

Emergency pack*

  • A battery powered radio

  • Torch with spare batteries or a wind-up torch

  • First aid kit

  • A copy of your contact list

  • Bottled water

  • Mobile phone and charger

  • Warm clothing

  • Essential medication and personal items (glasses)

  • Baby food, nappies

  • Wallet, purse and bank cards

  • Pet carrier, collar and lead (take pets with you)

  • Know how to turn off your gas, water and electricity.

  • Even if you listen to other stations, know how to tune into your local radio station for public information in an emergency.

  • Check your home insurance is up to date.

If your home is in a flood risk area, keep a stock of sandbags and sand. Householders are responsible for protecting their own property from flooding and we strongly recommend you make provision in advance against the risk of flooding.

What to do if flooding is expected

  • Watch water levels and stay tuned to the local radio or TV. You can also get updates by phoning the Floodline on 0345 988 1188

  • Alert your neighbours, particularly the elderly

  • Work with your local flood warden if you have a local community flood plan.

  • Move food, valuable, pets, livestock other items to safety

  • Put sandbags or flood boards in place

  • Prepare to turn off gas and electricity

  • Be prepared to evacuate your home

  • Protect yourself, your family and others that need your help

  • Try to keep calm, and to reassure others, especially children

  • Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities

  • Prepare for evacuation

Sedgemoor District Council Sandbag Policy

General Information

Sedgemoor residents are responsible for protecting their own property from flooding and residents are strongly recommended to make provision, in advance, against the risk of flooding especially if you live in a property or area that is known to flood or have requested sandbags in the past.

Limited sandbag provision is currently a service provided by Sedgemoor District Council but may be subject to availability of materials and resources which can often be stretched in times of emergency.   

Sandbag Policy

Several local communities have created sand bag stores for local self-help, as part of a local community flood plan, and have a local flood warden. This should be the first point of contact for local residents.

When flooding is officially forecast by the Environment Agency, and where resources allow, Sedgemoor District Council will provide sandbags for residents to collect. Proof of address is required to ensure limited stocks reach the most vulnerable areas/properties. We regret that we cannot issue sandbags, 'just in case', as sandbags deteriorate relatively quickly and may be unusable when you need to reply upon them.

The Council keep a limited stock of sandbags for residents to collect in order to protect external doors and air bricks that are at flood risk. Residents will normally be restricted to a maximum of 6 sandbags per external doorway. The Council is unable to provide sandbags to protect land, gardens, garages, sheds, outhouses, drives or similar as this diverts resources away from protecting homes.

Residents wishing to collect sandbags, should contact Sedgemoor District Council on 0300 303 7800, (Monday to Friday 09:00 to 05:00pm) to check if the Council's depot is open for collections.

Where a resident is unable to collect sandbags from our depot due to restricted access caused by flooding or because they are elderly, vulnerable or disabled Sedgemoor District Council will endeavour to deliver sandbags to the property. This is subject to staff resource and vehicle access being available. During times of emergency resources to provide this service may be stretched. Residents who wish to have sandbags delivered to their property should contact their village agent for advice in the first instance. A list of Village Agents and their contact details is available from the Community Council for Somerset via  Somerset Village Agents Project or 01823 331222.

The Council cannot guarantee the provision of sandbags on days when requests are made after 3:00pm.

The Council will keep and maintain a record of properties that request sandbags as in previous years.

The responsibility for positioning the sandbags rests with the householder. Sandbags issued will become the responsibility of the resident for removal and disposal. The Council is unable to collect sandbags after use.

Sandbag Policy during times of severe flooding:

During times of severe flooding (or where there is a threat of severe flooding) where many properties are likely to be affected, sandbags may be deposited at a central point in the local area for resident collection.

Where a resident is unable to collect sandbags from a central location due to restricted access caused by flooding or because they are elderly, vulnerable or disabled Sedgemoor District Council will endeavour to deliver sandbags to the property. This is subject to staff resource and safe vehicle access being available. During times of emergency the Council's resources to provide this service may be stretched. Residents who wish to have sandbags delivered to their property should contact their village agent for advice in the first instance. A list of Village Agents and their contact details is available from the Community Council for Somerset via:  Somerset Village Agents Project or 01823 331222.

Flood Protection Products

There are a number of different Flood protection products available on the market and residents are advised to consider these since sandbags are unlikely to be effective for prolonged periods or where there is severe flooding. Flood protection products are Kite Marked.

Supply of Sandbags for Businesses

Due to limited stocks of sandbags, the Council are unable to provide sandbags for businesses and commercial premises. Businesses are advised to contact local builders merchants for supplies of sandbags and sand.

Alternative sources of Sandbags

Most local builders merchants supply sandbags and sand and provide a delivery service. Residents are advised to contact their local builders merchants should they wish to acquire more sandbags

Advisory tips for protecting your home and the use of Sandbags

There is significant flood protection guidance on the Environment Agency and National Flood Forum websites. Please visit the Environment Agency website for guidance on how to use sandbags effectively.

Gov.uk - How to use Sandbags effectively

Flood Information from Sedgemoor District Council

Residents requiring flood-related support should contact Sedgemoor District Council on 0300 303 7806 or email environmental.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk. The Sedgemoor Direct contact centre operates Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm and is closed on bank holidays.

A 24 hour Sedgemoor District Council emergency telephone number is available for Sedgemoor residents on 0800 917 6520.

Sedgemoor District Council's Twitter feed can be followed via @sedgemoordc.

Sewer flooding - Call the Wessex Water Sewage Floodline on 0345 850 5959 (24 hours) in the event that your property is flooded with sewage internally or externally.

Where there is an emergency or 'threat to life' please call 999.  For general advice from Avon and Somerset Police call 101.