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

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

Planning Against Flooding 

While you can't always stop flooding, with the right preparations in advance, and by responding swiftly to warnings when they are issued, there is a great deal you can do to reduce the impact. If you live in a flood risk area you should do what you can now to minimise the risk to yourself and your property. It is vital that you don't wait until flooding occurs, as you may not have time to do anything.

You can prepare yourself for flooding by:

  • ensuring that you have adequate buildings and contents insurance cover, advise your insurance company if you live in a flood risk area 
  • (if you live in an area of flood risk) being alert and make sure you know how flood warnings will be issued 
  • creating a simple flood defence as described below: 
  1. Check how many ground floor doors, patio doors, cat flaps and airbricks there are in your home. Get enough strong plastic sheeting to cover all of these gaps and leave a minimum overlap of 80cm around the edges. For doors, cut plywood or similar material to cover the doorway and hold the sheeting in place. 
  2. Get some bags which can be filled with sand or soil. These will hold the sheeting in contact with the ground. Any small cloth or plastic bag will do but remember not to overfill them as you will have to carry them and firm them into place. 

In an emergency, or when there are flood warnings: 

Following a Flood Warning 

Actions to take: 

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


It is East Cambridgeshire District Council’s policy not to provide sandbags to residents or businesses.

If you home or business is vulnerable to flooding you should take measures to defend your property from flooding by keeping a stock of sandbags/sand ready to use. You can buy sandbags from hardware shops. Plastic bags filled with soil are also a good alternative.


Visit the GOV.UK website for advice about How to prepare for flooding (external link)