This is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the UK; we need to prepare in advance to minimise the impact that flooding could have.

Flooding can occur from the sea, rivers and from continuous and/or abnormal rainfall levels. The highest flooding risk is surface water flooding (where drainage systems are unable to cope with the volume of rainfall).

Issues associated with flooding are widespread and can include:

  • Risk to life.
  • Damage and disruption to homes, personal property, businesses, infrastructure.
  • Pollution of local environments.
  • Disruption to utilities and evacuation.
  • Short, medium and long-term homelessness.
  • Long term health and psychological impacts.

Who can be affected?

Those at risk from river and coastal flooding are relatively easy to identify. Surface water flooding can occur anywhere but is more common in built up areas.

What are we doing in County Durham and Darlington?

We work together to plan for:

  • Working with emergency services, local authorities, utilities and other agencies to develop flood response plans and procedures.
  • Identifying where the flood water could go and who is at risk.
  • Working with communities in flood risk areas.
  • Providing guidance to the public about flooding, including flood warnings and how people can help themselves.
  • Regular maintenance and clearing programme of gullies and culverts, especially in the event of storm warnings.

What can you do?

  • See if you can receive “flood warnings direct” – a free service operated by the Environment Agency – by ringing 0345 988 1188.
  • Know what different flood warnings mean (See further information below).
  • Report instances of flooding to the local council.
  • Where possible, move valuable/irreplaceable items to upper floors during times of flood risk.
  • Plan where you will go if you have to evacuate and how you will get there.
  • Who can look after your pets and have your medication to hand (see section “What can you do to be better prepared in your home”).
  • Identify neighbours who may need assistance or can provide assistance to you, in case of evacuation.
  • Buy sandbags/aqua sacs now – there will not be time in the event of an emergency.
  • Have supplies in your home enabling you to cope for up to three days should you be unable to evacuate.

Where can you get further information?

Environment Agency
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/ [external link]

Public Health England
http://www.hpa.org.uk/flooding [external link]

Met Office
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/advice/flooding.html [external link]