Flooding

Are you at risk of flooding?

Flooding can be extremely dangerous and present some life-threatening conditions.

On this page you will find information to help you prepare for a flood, what to do during and after a flood, who to contact and who is responsible for different types of flooding, what different flood alerts mean and what you can do to reduce flooding. Visit London Flash Flooding for more information. 

The Council has declared a climate emergency which you can read more about on the climate change page. With climate change the threat of flooding increases. 

 

How can I tell if flooding is likely?

The Environment Agency and The Met Office offer free flood warning updates:

 

Key flooding emergency contacts

During a flooding event, if you are vulnerable or feel that lives are at risk, contact the emergency services on 999 for immediate assistance and rescue.

If the issue is urgent but not life threatening, contact us by phone on 0208 554 5000

Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60

Call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800

Call your Water Utility, to find out who your water company is you can check with Water UK.

Some key contact details you should have:

  • Your landlord
  • NHS 111
  • Numbers of family and friends
  • Insurance company claim line (keep your policy number to hand)
  • Flood line - 0345 988 1188 (charges may apply)
  • Thames Water - 0845 9200 800
  • Environment Agency Floodline - 0345 988 188
  • National Grid - 0800 111 999
  • EDF Energy - 0800 111 999
  • UK Power Networks - 051

 

Reporting a flood

If you see flooding and it’s because of an overflowing sewer, you will need to contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.

If you notice water coming up through the road surface or flooding when it isn’t raining it is most likely a burst water main. Depending on who your water supplier is contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 or Essex and Suffolk Water on 0800 526 337. 

For any signs of river flooding please contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

Please report any gullies that are blocked or road surface water flooding. For any urgent issues please contact us on 0208 554 5000.

Report a flooding or blocked drain

If you find missing or broken drain covers please report this to us.  

Report a missing or broken drain cover

In many cases during severe weather or storms, public sewers which are maintained and are the responsibility of Thames Water are unable to cope with the severe amounts of rain water that can be generated by severe weather. This in turn can lead to flooding on the roads and it may seem that gullies are blocked. We do accept that some gullies and systems can be blocked and we will facilitate plans to get them unblocked.

Whilst reporting any surface water you see to us, we also recommend you calling Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 telling them of the flooding. Please provide them with dates, times, the impact of the flooding to you and your property and ensure they log those calls onto their 'flooding history database'. This will help to ensure they have adequate records to then prioritise their upgrades and maintenance programmes.

 

Responsibilities of organisations

Many organisations take responsibilities for the different types of flooding. It can be confusing who you have to call to get the right action taken, take the time to read the below to make sure you are calling the right organisation.

Redbridge has multiple roles and functions, including as a Highway Authority, an LLFA (Lead Local Flood Authority), a landowner and a Category One Responder.

As a Highway Authority, Redbridge is responsible for maintaining any highway assets on adopted roads which are not on the Strategic Road Network (which is managed by TfL). Highway drainage, such as drains, kerbs, road gullies, ditches and pipes, have to be managed and routinely inspected to ensure that highway runoff on and from highways is well managed. Redbridge’s highway drainage responsibilities include highway gullies and pipework up to the point it connects to the public sewer network, where it becomes Thames Waters responsibility.

Surface Water

Surface water or flash flooding occurs when heavy rainfall exceeds the capacity of the ground and local drainage networks to absorb it. It can lead to water flowing over the ground and pooling in low-lying areas. It is typically caused by short intense rainfall. This is identified as the biggest risk in London. Whilst some gullies may be blocked, during storm events such as in July 2021 public sewers struggle to cope with the amount of rainwater which leads to flooding on the roads and pavements.

If water is still present after a few hours and you believe the issue is being caused by a blocked or damaged roadside gully, or if you wish to report another non-emergency drainage issue, please contact the local authority Highways team via phone on 0208 554 5000 or report it online.

There are gullies or drainage systems that are present in private estates or roads which are the responsibility of the landowner or private management company, usually shared ownership between residents. Significant structures and their owners where the information is provided by the 3rd party may be identified in the Flood Asset Register produced by the local authority which we are looking to bring online shortly. In the meantime please report the issue using the number or link above if you are unsure of the owner.

Where significant flooding has resulted in a property flooding the local authority will need to include this in their Flood Investigations please report this after the event to Thames Water and Redbridge.

Reservoirs

A reservoir is, most commonly, an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water. There are a number of these may be managed by different companies and landowners.

Contact details of the responsible body will be displayed at each reservoir, who will have an onsite reservoir plan, however in an emergency please call the local authority on 0208 554 5000 who are responsible for offsite reservoir plans and alerting the wider public of the potential issue.

London Borough Redbridge has two reservoirs:

  • Hainault Forest Country Park
  • Valentines Park

The council has duties under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 upon which it is appointed as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA). The act requires the LLFA to undertake investigations for flooding incidents and events.

The act states on becoming aware of a flood in its area, a lead local flood authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate: 

(a) which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and

(b) whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood.

Where an authority carries out an investigation under subsection (1) it must:

(a) publish the results of its investigation, and

(b) notify any relevant risk management authorities.

Ordinary Watercourse 

Roadside ditches normally belong to the adjoining landowner and not the highway authority, except where land has been acquired for new road building.

Consent is required from the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) to undertake some works on an ordinary watercourse. If a landowner wishes to pipe, alter a pipe, or dam an ordinary watercourse, they should apply for consent from the LLFA by contacting highwaysg@redbridge.gov.uk

Where there is local authority owned land, we have a programme for clearance and maintenance. Where they are piped or culverted, this does not change the responsibility. Please contact highwaysg@redbridge.gov.uk to find out more.

Thames Water is the regional water and sewerage company responsible for managing the risk of flooding from sewers including surface water, foul and combined sewer systems. Under Section 94 of the Water Industry Act (1991), Thames Water have a duty to inspect, maintain, and repair their sewers and other drainage assets. Thames Water should advise the council about any works being carried out and provide a platform for which sewer flooding incidents can be reported by residents.

Thames Water is also a clean water provider in Redbridge and is responsible for mitigating water main leaks including reinstatement of the public highway if any damage occurs. If you think there is a blockage in the sewer, use the Blockages and blocked drains | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water to report it.

Sewer flooding can occur due to sewer blockage or collapse, or an increased flow and volume of water entering a sewer system which overwhelms its capacity, causing water not to be able to enter or to be pushed back out. Where sewer outfall points are either blocked or submerged due to high water levels, water can back up in a sewer system and cause flooding in the road or to your property.

If you think there is a blockage in the sewer, use the Blockages and blocked drains | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water to report it.

If the flooding is coming from inside your property (i.e.. out of your sinks, toilets, or showers) then please use Flooding and pollution | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water or call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.

 Please complete their sewer flooding questionnaire as this is the only way they prioritise any longer term work which may be required.

Sewer flooding can often be seen as surface water flooding and so it may not be clear where it originates from, in this instance a report needs to be made to us.

Unfortunately, even with supply pipes there can be leaks and occasionally more serious pipe bursts. For advice in these situations please visit your water supplier website. In many cases across London, Thames Water is your supplier and provides the following advice on Frozen or burst pipes | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water You must report the leak to Thames Water  regarding all pipe burst in the road.

Find your supplier | Water UK

The Environment Agency is a lead Risk Management Authority in flood risk management. Section 165 of the Water Resources Act (1991) appoints permissive powers related to Main Rivers to the Environment Agency, including the maintenance and improvement of existing works as well as the construction of new works. The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 also gives responsibility for the management of river flooding to the Environment Agency. River flood risk is mapped in different Flood Zones with the following risk boundaries:

  • Flood Zone 3: Areas with a greater than 1 in 100 years (>1%) annual probability of river flooding
  • Flood Zone 2: Areas with an annual probability of river flooding between 1 in 100 years and 1 in 1,000 years (1% to 0.1%)
  • Flood Zone 1: Areas with less than a 1 in 1000 years (<0.1%) annual probability of river flooding

The Main Rivers within the borough of Redbridge are:

  • River Roding
  • Cran Brook (tributary of the River Roding)
  • Seven Kings Water and Loxford Water (tributary of the River Roding)

The Environment Agency performs regular maintenance activities, including the inspection of any flood risk assets for debris build up. Under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Environment Agency is also regarded as a Category One Responder. If you notice a blockage or tree on a main river which is causing risk of flooding, call the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

All rivers are the responsibility of landowners known as 'riparian owners'.

 Permits are also required from the Environment Agency for structures along main rivers.

There are also structures and screens that are managed and cleared on rivers on a more regular basis in periods of adverse weather. This could be the Environment Agency, local authority or other organisation or private landowner. The significant structures will be highlighted in a Flood Asset Register.

Landowners have the primary responsibility of safeguarding their own land and property against flooding. Common law also enables landowners to take reasonable measures to protect their property from flooding, provided the measures do not cause harm to others or other neighbouring properties. Landowners adjacent to water courses or with water courses flowing through them are responsible for ensuring that any structures on their land linked to a neighbouring watercourse is kept clear of debris and the watercourse can flow naturally.

TfL are responsible for managing the operation of the public transport network across London and the drainage of surface water of red routes of their Strategic Road Network. TfL’s red routes within the borough are the following:

  • A113 - Charlie Brown’s roundabout
  • A12 - Eastern Avenue
  • A12 - Gants Hill roundabout
  • A12 - Redbridge roundabout
  • A1400 - Southend Road
  • A1400 - Woodford Avenue
  • A406 - North Circular Road
  • A406 - Southend Road (North Circular Road)

If you notice blocked gullies or flooding on these roads please report them to TfL on 0343 222 1234.

 

Flood advice

Flooding is possible and you should be prepared. This warning is typically given anywhere between two days to two hours before a flooding event.
Flooding is expected and immediate action is required. This warning is typically used within half an hour to one day in advance of flooding.
Severe flooding, there is a significant risk to life and disruption to communities.

Flood alerts are mostly linked to fluvial flooding, it can be difficult for agencies to predict flooding for surface water.

Learn more about what flood alerts mean and what actions you should take 

If there is a risk to life, a serious risk to property or the environment call 999

During a flood you should:

  • keep up to date about the weather and risks to your property using radio, TV, web, or social media
  • keep outside drains clear to let surface water escape
  • turn off gas, electricity and water supplies before flood water enters your property (if it's safe to do so)
  • put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down to stop water overflowing into your home
  • wash your hands whenever they come into contact with flood water as they may be contaminated
  • look after your neighbours - even in the summer, people can suffer from hypothermia after their homes have become flooded with cold rainwater
  • be careful if you have a private water supply - flooding can affect its quality and damage equipment, boil it before drinking or using it for food preparation
  • if your home has been flooded, move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape, take your emergency grab bag with you
  • if you're using a petrol or diesel water pump, put the generator outside, keep your doors and windows closed, use a carbon monoxide detector in your home - generators produce carbon monoxide fumes which can kill
  • evacuate if told to do so by emergency or council officials

 

During a flood you should not:

  • touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water
  • enter your home if there is raw sewage in it - stay somewhere else until it has been cleaned
  • smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with flood water (always wash your hands in clean water before doing so)
  • let your children play in flood water, it can become contaminated with sewage and chemicals
  • use towpaths
  • walk through flooded areas - even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet, there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels - these can cause serious injuries or even death
  • travel in heavy rainstorms unless absolutely necessary
  • drive through flooded roads or areas:
    • 80 percent of flood deaths happen in vehicles as the water is deeper than it looks and moving fast
    • your vehicle may be swept away, or you may become stranded, four inches of water is enough to stop a car
    • driving through flood water can spread sewage onto your car and into streets

We'll do our best to reduce flooding but if it does happen, we'll:

  • help restore the flooded area to normality
  • provide support to those affected by flooding
  • consider how we can prevent future flooding and reduce its effect
  • work with government departments and partner agencies, hoping to secure funding and grants for those affected
  • For significant events the Local Authorities are likely to have a recovery plan which will be enacted

What to do after a flood, once the water has receded:

  • contact your insurer as soon as possible after a flood, there is information available on insurance guidance for homeowners 
  • begin clear up once it is safe to do so, read UK's advice on clearing up after a flood for more advice
  • wear protective clothing such as wellies and rubber gloves before starting any clean up
  • remove dirty water and silt from your property
  • if you have wooden floors you may have water under the floorboards which need pumping out. Emergency services do not provide a pumping-out service, so you'll need to get pumps from hardware and DIY stores
  • if using a petrol or diesel pump make sure the generator is outside and that doors and windows are closed - generators produce carbon monoxide fumes which can kill
  • ventilate your property, open doors and windows - less damp means less damage
  • use specialist detergents to clean up oil and petrol, following the manufacturer’s guidelines, and ensure the area is well ventilated
  • don’t dispose of damaged goods until your insurers have had a chance to inspect them
  • flood water can leave a muddy deposit containing bacteria but a thorough clean up reduces the health risk
  • get your local electricity supply checked before switching it back on. (For businesses, assess the risk to your staff and customers and consider closing the business until it has been checked).
  • don't use electrical equipment exposed to flood water until it has been checked by a qualified electrician
  • do not use internal lifts until power is back to normal
  • have your gas or oil central heating checked by a qualified person
  • follow the Food Standards Agency's advice on food safety after a flood
  • get professional advice (structural engineer) for repairs if your property is damaged
  • if anyone becomes ill after accidentally swallowing flood water or mud, contact a doctor and tell them about the flooding
  • report your flood to the relevant body to ensure they take action where necessary using the key contacts above, and it is included in future decision making on projects that may be taken forward.
  • apply for any assistance provided by central government and/or the local authority.

The webcam shows the water level in the River Roding.  To refresh the image reload your internet browser.

At times the camera may not work due to technical difficulties. Our operators will be aware of the faults and will be working to ensure it gets rectified.

 Check the River Roding webcam

 

What does the River Roding gauge mean?

The gauge shows the level of the water in the river. We use this information and data provided by the Environment Agency to work out the risk of flooding.

  • 1m mark on the gauge - normal conditions
  • 5m - after moderate rainfall upstream
  • 7m and above - after heavy rainfall
  • 2m or higher – at these levels our Multi Agency Flood Plan will be activated at the appropriate level in consultation with the Environment Agency. The last time the river rose to this level was in February 2009.  

We are also conducting a flood alleviation scheme alongside the Environment Agency. 

Flood Investigation

We have a duty to investigate flooding when it is 'necessary and appropriate' (Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act).

You can tell us about flooding in the borough, or we may notice incidents of flooding ourselves. When we come to know about flooding we decide whether to undertake a flood risk investigation. We are likely to investigate where:

  • a property has been flooded inside, on more than one occasion
  • five or more properties have been flooded inside during a single flood incident
  • critical infrastructure has been affected by flooding
  • the source of flooding is ambiguous

The investigation will identify which Risk Management Authority (for example us or the Environment agency) have a flood risk management function in relation to the flood. It will then detail what each authority with a relevant function is going to or has done in response to the flooding incident.

Recent flood investigations

Section 19 Report July 2021 [10.7mb]

Flood Risk Management Strategy

As Local Lead Flood Authority, we have a duty, under Section 9 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management. Local flood risk is the risk of flooding from ordinary watercourses, groundwater and surface water.

Redbridge Local Flood Risk Management Strategy PDF [2mb]

The strategy describes how flood risk will be managed across the borough. It considers the risk of flooding from ordinary watercourses, groundwater and surface water. It outlines our priorities for managing the local flood risk and sets out a delivery plan to manage the risk. An update to the LFRMs is currently on-going this financial year and a new link will be provided once the document is finalised.

Surface Water Management Plan PDF [3.6mb]

SWMP a PDF [7.2mb]

SWMP b PDF [7mb]

SWMP c PDF [3.9mb]

SWMP d PDF [7mb]

SWMP e PDF [7.4mb]

SWMP f  PDF [1.7mb]

Flood Risk Asset Manager 

The Asset register is an online record of assets in the borough. The register contains information about the location, condition and ownership (where available) of each asset. The register does not show you where there is a risk of flooding, but you can use the register to see what assets are in your local area.

The link to this is currently in development.

Assessing Flood Risk For Development Works

Although flooding is a natural event, it can be life-threatening and cause severe damage to property. The risk can’t be removed but can be reduced through good planning and management in order to create safe and sustainable future development.

As the Local Planning Authority we are responsible for assessing flood risk.

You can read the latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment online, a new one is currently in development and will be published online when it is finalised:  

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment – Level 1 PDF [2.43mb]

Sustainable Drainage is a material planning consideration for all Major applications

The Lead Local Flood Authority is consulted on all major planning applications since 15 April 2015.

Watercourses include rivers, streams, ditches, drains, cuts, culverts (piped sections), dikes, sluices and passages through which water flows. Redbridge Council have permissive rights under the Land Drainage Act 1999 to ensure watercourses in its area are properly maintained irrespective of ownership.

Our main permissive rights are:

  • to ensure all watercourses in its area are maintained to a standard that allows water to flow through them freely
  • to inspect all works carried out to or within three metres of a watercourse regardless of its ownership status and insist on any changes needed to protect both upstream and downstream users
  • Land drainage approval must be applied for if any of the following conditions apply to any works you wish to carry out:
  • works that will affect or add flow to any open or piped watercourse
  • works to the embankments, ditch bottom or any part of a piped watercourse
  • works within 3 metres of any open or piped watercourse
  • works to connect new pipes or watercourses to an existing open or piped watercourse


Redbridge does not have a land drainage application form but any formal application for Land Drainage approval should contain:

  • a letter giving location and detailing the proposals
  • a location plan
  • a plan showing the details of the proposed works

If you wish to discuss Land Drainage in more detail please email highwaysg@redbridge.gov.uk

Designated Structure

As the Lead Local Flood Authority we have powers to designate structures or features with a significant impact on flood risk. We do this to protect structures or features that play a role in reducing flood risk. If we have designated something it usually means that a number of properties would be at a greater risk of flooding if that structure or feature was removed.

The Environment Agency also have powers to designate structures you can find out more on this at Flood and sea defences: designated assets on your land - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A record of the designation will be put onto the Local Land Charges so that subsequent land owners will be made aware of the designation. Once we have designated a feature, the owner must seek consent from us to alter, remove, or replace it.

If you make a change to a designated feature without our consent, we may issue an enforcement notice which will set out the steps that must be taken to restore the feature. You may appeal against a designation notice, refusal of consent, conditions placed on a consent or an enforcement notice.

Contact us at highwaysg@redbridge.gov.uk to find out the structures that have been designated and discuss consent to alter a feature or structure that has been designated.

 

 

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