Flood prevention

Community and landowners

Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, community or landowner there are a whole host of ways to help reduce the impacts of flooding and protect your property and land.


Reduce soil compaction

Compacted soil will increase the amount and speed of water runoff from the land, will increase soil erosion and decrease the soil’s productivity. Avoid working the land, heavy machinery and high stocking densities when it’s wet to reduce compaction of the soil.

Ditch clearance

Maintaining ditches by removing any accumulated silt, cutting grass, maintaining any trees or shrubs on the banks and removing any debris, reduces flow of runoff across land, so limiting soil erosion and flooding.

Contour ploughing

Ploughing across a slope rather than down the slope reduces the rate at which runoff flows off land, reducing the risk of flooding and limiting soil erosion.

Tree planting

Planting tree belts, hedges and wooded areas can help soak up rainfall and slow down water runoff.


Watercourse maintenance

Maintaining watercourses by removing any accumulated silt, maintaining vegetation on the banks and removing any debris from the watercourse or structures, ensures that the watercourse is in best condition to cope with heavy rainfall and reduce the risk of flooding.

Wetlands and flood attenuation

Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, groundwater and flood waters.

Bank cutting and tree felling

Maintaining vegetation such as shrubs and trees on the banks of a watercourse ensures that the watercourse is in best condition to cope with heavy rainfall and reduce the risk of flooding.

Highways and defences

Bridge inspection

Authority-owned structures like bridges, culverts and grilles/trash-screens are normally inspected regularly, but private or community-owned structures also need to be checked for any blockages, build up of silt or signs of damage.

Permeable paving of car parks

There are many materials available to make parking areas permeable, which reduces the amount of water runoff from them.


Flood defences

Land owners or communities may be responsible for maintaining existing defences on their land as riparian owners. Communities may also be able to raise funds towards the construction of new flood defences where they are proven as needed to defend properties.

Swales and infiltration

Swales are open channels which catch runoff and either store it to let the water infiltrate into the ground or transfer it somewhere safe. This reduces water runoff, restricts flood water, provides biodiversity benefits, and helps to maintain water quality.

Underground storage

Where there is insufficient land available for open flood storage such as swales or wetlands, flood water can be stored underground such as under car parks, to slow down and reduce the amount of runoff entering the drainage system.


Flood wardens

Flood wardens are nominated to receive flood warnings and pass these onto the community. They are trained to help the community to prepare for flooding and know what actions should be taken during a flood.

Rain gardens

Rain gardens are small planted areas designed to receive rainwater from downpipes or paved areas, so that the water enters the soil, reducing the amount going into drainage and reducing the risk of flooding.

Water butts

Water butts are used to collect rainfall from roofs. The water can be used straight in the garden or carefully filtered and stored for reuse within the home.

Rain gauges, telemetry and warning systems

These systems are ideal for areas where there is no formal flood warning system. They provide round-the-clock monitoring of rainfall or river levels, alerting the community to any risk of flooding.

Flood store

A community flood and emergency store can help flood wardens and communities to respond quickly to flooding, by providing tools and equipment for flood prevention and minimisation, as well as post-flood clean-up.

Permeable paving

There are many materials available to make parking areas permeable, which reduces the amount of runoff from them.

Green roofs

Green roofs help soak up rain water and reduce water runoff from built up areas. Green roofs also increase biodiversity and wildlife, improve air and water quality, insulate the building and can provide amenity space.

Last updated 11 May 2023