Flooding and other emergencies

Information, advice and key contacts for residents, businesses and community groups about how to prepare for emergencies, including flooding. How, as a council, we work with other agencies to manage flood risk and recovery in North Lincolnshire.

Preparing for emergencies in North Lincolnshire

Emergencies are happening somewhere almost every minute of every day. Most are dealt with by the police, fire and ambulance services as part of their day to day work. Sometimes and incident is more serious and needs to involve other agencies – such as local councils, the Environment Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and NHS England, amongst others. All of these agencies work together continuously to plan how we would react and manage a major emergency.

The North Lincolnshire Council Emergency Planning team are part of the Humber Emergency Planning Service which provides the Emergency Planning provision for the four Humber bank local authorities:

  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Hull City Council
  • North East Lincolnshire Council
  • North Lincolnshire Council

Visit the Humber Emergency Planning Service website for information about how to prepare for an emergency.

Business continuity

Business continuity is the ability to continue to function during a disruption; for example still continuing your services when you can’t get into your main building or a large number of your staff are off sick.

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) identifies all the critical things that are needed to keep your business going. It lists resources needed and contingency measures in place. It helps to prioritise activities during an incident.

Humber Emergency Planning Service have produced guidance and templates that can be adapted for your own use. Further business continuity information is available on the Humber Emergency Planning website.

Preparing communities

During a major wide area emergency is may be some time before responding organisations are able to offer assistance. By planning in advance your town or parish council could help coordinate local response activities.

Creating a Community Emergency Plan (CEP) will identify local resources available and sets out a structure to follow in the response to an incident such as severe weather or flooding that might isolate the community.

We have produced a pack to help town and parish councils write their Community Emergency Plan which contains the following:

  • guidance
  • plan templates
  • training DVD
  • supporting template documents
  • exercising guidance
  • reviewing guidance

All these documents and further information can be found on the town and parish page of the Humber Emergency Planning website.

Templates for smaller groups are also available on the neighbourhood plans page of the Humber Emergency Planning website.

Flooding presents a number of risks to health. Guidance to help professionals and the public address those risks and clean up safely are available on the Government website.

Business continuity is the ability to continue to function during a disruption; for example still continuing your services when you can’t get into your main building or a large number of your staff are off sick.

Business continuity plan

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) identifies all the critical things that are needed to keep your business going. It lists resources needed and contingency measures in place. It helps to prioritise activities during an incident.

Humber Emergency Planning Service have produced guidance and templates that can be adapted for your own use. Further business continuity information is available on the Humber Emergency Planning website.

Advice about business continuity

The Humber Emergency Planning Service have produced guidance and templates on business continuity that can be adapted for your own use.

Emergency planning

The North Lincolnshire Council Emergency Planning team are part of the Humber Emergency Planning Service which provides the emergency planning (and business continuity) provision for the four Humber bank local authorities.

Humber Local Resilience Forum

North Lincolnshire Council as a category 1 responder defined by the Civil Contingency Act is a member of the Humber Local Resilience Forum.
The Local Resilience Forum is a multi-agency partnership made of representatives from local public services, the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others, who work together to plan and prepare for localised incidents and catastrophic emergencies, by working to identify potential risks and produce emergency plans to either prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident on their local communities.

Community Risk Register

The Local Resilience Forum Risk Assessment Working Group produces a Community Risk Register for the Humber Sub-region detailing descriptions of risk, along with the likelihood of it occurring, and the impact it would have on the community, economy etc. should it happen.

Visit the Local Resilience Forum and the Community Risk Register webpage for more details.

If you need to contact us about flooding or a blocked gully, please use our online form or call 01724 297000.

Report a flood or blocked gully

If it is a sewerage problem, such as backed-up toilets, please contact the relevant water authority.

Advice on flooding and drain blockage issues is also available from the following organisations:

If your home or business been flooded since the 1 December 2014, you may be eligible for funding. Please contact us for more information.

The council and its partner agencies have established the Strategic Flood Board to deal with the threat of flooding in North Lincolnshire.

The council has a database key sites in North Lincolnshire. It has already taken action at some of these sites, or is in the process of taking action.

Council officers respond to public enquiries. We investigate problems that are reported and arrange gully cleaning, jetting drainage systems and repairs based on agreed priorities.

The Environment Agency provides a range of advice about what to do before, during and after a flood.

The Blue Pages website provides and independent directory of products that may help you protect your property from flooding.

The Humber Emergency Planning Service website offers practical advice for local people in relation to preparing for a flood and recovering after a flood.

The Met Office website shows short-term and longer-term weather forecasts.

We do not have a legal duty to issue sandbags but we have a duty of care to some groups of people. For example, vulnerable people living in a council care home.

Sandbag stock levels

We ensure access to an adequate stock of sandbags to help residents in line with our policy and priorities.

Sandbag response priorities

Subject to available resources, we will respond according to the following priorities:

  1. Protection of members of society at risk of injury or loss of life.
  2. Protection of council property.
  3. Protection of private property.

Sandbags will only be supplied when the threat of a flood exists. They are not provided for future protection of vulnerable properties.

Sandbags are available from builder’s merchants. If you are aware that your home is at a high risk of flooding, you may want to buy sandbags in advance.

How we work with other agencies to minimise the risk of flooding and to recover from flooding.

Local flood risk and drainage management

Since 2007 we have been working with our partners, through the Local Flood Risk and Drainage Management groups, to investigate and resolve flooding incidents where we can. Whilst our operational role is limited to surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses we have a further duty under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act to investigate flooding from any source. This includes rivers and sewers which are managed by other agencies such as the Environment Agency, internal drainage board or water company (Severn Trent or Anglian Water ). This is to ensure a coordinated public response.

Flood and Water Management Act

From April 2012 the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 required that:

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:

  • which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions
  • whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood

Where any authority carries out an investigation it must:

  •  publish the results of its investigation
  •  notify any relevant risk management authorities

As lead local flood authority we will continue this role, in respect of considering the necessity or appropriateness of investigations. Investigations are often complex. They involve a significant amount of time and resources.  We will carefully consider the following criteria before embarking on an investigation:

  • Significant risk to life or health
  • Number of residential or commercial properties affected
  • Number or extent of critical infrastructure affected
  • Key transport infrastructure affected
  • Significant disruption to commercial and business activities
  • Reoccurrence of incidents
  • The cause is unknown or unclear

Flood investigations

We as Lead Local Flood Authority have carried out the following flood investigations:

Maps on the Environment Agency provide information on all the major types of flooding which affect England, including the risk of flooding from surface water.

They are presented in a clear, simple and consistent way, making it easier for people, communities and partners to understand flood risk and make decisions about how to manage it.

Please see the Environment Agency Flood Risk Maps.

The independent review into the causes of the 2007 floods, The Pitt Report, concluded sustainable drainage systems (commonly known as SuDS) were an effective way to reduce the risk of ‘flash-flooding’ which occurs when rainwater rapidly flows into the public sewerage and drainage system, causing overloading and back-up of water to the surface.

It was identified that common drainage practices made surface water drainage a ‘waste management’ industry rather that a ‘surface water management’ industry.

What is SuDS?

The SuDS approach is about slowing down and reducing the quantity of surface water runoff to manage flood risk and reducing the risk of that runoff causing pollution. This is achieved by infiltrating, slowing, storing and treating runoff on site and, where possible, on the surface rather than underground. Water then becomes a much more visible and tangible part of a development that can be enjoyed by those who live in, work in or visit a place.

On the 18 December 2014 a written statement by the House of Commons was made explaining how the existing planning system would be changed to secure sustainable drainage systems. These changes came into effect on 06 April 2015.

Local planning authorities are now expected to ensure that sustainable drainage systems, for the management of runoff, are put in place on planning applications relating to major development, unless demonstrated to be inappropriate.

Under these arrangements, local planning authorities should consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water. Therefore, North Lincolnshire Council as lead local flood authority is now a statutory consultee on planning applications for major developments with surface water drainage.

Benefits of SuDS

  • protecting people and property from increased flood risk
  • protecting the water quality of groundwater and surface waters from polluted runoff
  • protecting natural flow regimes (and thus the ecology) in our rivers, lakes and streams
  • supporting local natural habitats and associated ecosystems by encouraging greater biodiversity and connecting habitats together
  • improving soil moisture and replenishing depleted groundwater levels
  • creating attractive places where people want to live, work and play through the integration of water and green spaces with the built environment
  • improving people’s understanding of how runoff from their development is being managed and used, and the benefits of more sustainable approaches
  • supporting the creation of developments that are more likely able to cope with changes in climate in the future
  • delivering cost-effective infrastructure that uses fewer natural resources and has smaller carbon footprint than conventional drainage.

For more information on SuDS please see the relevant planning policy guidance.

Our  SUDS guidance [PDF, 1Mb] gives advice for developers and designers on sustainable drainage systems appropriate for developments, depending on size and location, to avoid increasing the risk of flooding to the site and surrounding areas.

Visit our planning policy page  or the planning practice guidance website for more information.

Lead local flood authorities are required, under Section 21 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, to establish and maintain:

(a) a register of structures or features which, in the opinion of the authority, are likely to have a significant effect on a flood risk in its area, and

(b) a record of information about each of those structures or features, including information about ownership and state of repair.

The Act goes on to state that ‘the lead local flood authority must arrange for the register to be available for inspection at all reasonable times’.

In North Lincolnshire we have opted to adopt a web-based system that will be accessible to the public at all times, and that brings together information about flood risk assets that are managed by as many flood risk management authorities as possible.

The asset register shows structures (such as pumping stations, flood defence banks, weirs, sluices and grills) currently being used to manage flood risk and drainage across the council, along with the relevant flood risk management authority.

As far as possible, the information links existing databases so that information about flood risk and assets can be shared by operating authorities without unnecessary duplication. Each authority retains responsibility for updating and maintaining its own data, but now has greater capacity to access and make use of data held by other authorities.

We have tried to make this first release of the asset register as comprehensive as possible, but it is important to note that this is a system that will be developed and improved over time. It has not been possible yet to include every asset of which we are aware, and it is likely that there are others for which an owning or managing organisation cannot, at present, be identified. The asset register will be updated regularly, and additional information will be added as it is identified and verified.

As Lead Local Flood Authority we are required to implement and monitor a local flood risk management strategy that responds to local needs and circumstances whilst being consistent with the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy, produced by the Environment Agency.

We are responsible for managing flood risk from ‘local’ sources including:

  • surface run-off;
  • groundwater;
  • ordinary watercourses (generally small rivers and streams)

The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy [PDF, 2Mb] sets out how we intend to manage flood risks arising from local sources. This document will be reviewed on a six yearly basis.

We seek to identify, through the LFRMS, a range of effective flood risk management measures that we can then implement in a coordinated way that balances the needs of communities, the economy and the environment.  This strategy also ensures that all risk management authorities are brought together in order to deliver a coordinated approach to flood risk management from all sources.

Our LFRMS has been developed along with a Strategic Environmental Assessment and a Habitats Regulations Assessment copies of which can be obtained by emailing LLFAdrainageteam@northlincs.gov.uk.

Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment

The LFRMS builds on the government’s Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA). The primary objective of the PFRA was to gather local data to identify past flooding events that have had harmful consequences for human health, economic activity, the environment and cultural heritage; and assesses possible harmful and adverse consequences of future floods. Consideration of the number of properties, critical infrastructure and essential services flooded; the extent of flooding in the overall community and the frequency flooding occurs was particularly important.

The North Lincolnshire PFRA is a council wide preliminary assessment of flood risk from local sources, specifically to identify any significant flood risk areas that meet the national level significance thresholds provided by Defra. No new flood risk areas with national level significant harmful consequences were identified in North Lincolnshire.

In the hierarchy of water courses, the Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for ‘main rivers’.

Within their districts, the Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) are responsible for major drainage channels to manage water levels for land management, flood risk management, irrigation and environmental benefits. Information on IDBs can be found on the Association of Drainage Authorities website.

Riparian watercourses

Second to main rivers are ‘riparian watercourses’. A watercourse is any natural or artificial channel, above or below ground, through which water flows. This includes a ditch, stream, culvert or pipe. If you own land adjoining or above a watercourse, or with a watercourse running through it, you are a ‘riparian owner’. This brings with it certain rights and responsibilities, which are summarised below.

  • You have the responsibility to pass on flow without obstruction, pollution or diversion affecting the rights of others. Others also have the right to receive water in its natural quantity and quality.
  • You must accept flood flows through your land, even if caused by inadequate capacity downstream. There is no duty in common law for a landowner to improve the drainage capacity of a watercourse.
  • You must maintain the bed and banks of the watercourse, and also the trees and shrubs growing on the banks. You must also clear any debris, even if it did not originate from your land. This debris may be natural or man-made, and includes litter and animal carcasses.
  • You must not cause any obstructions – either temporary or permanent – that would prevent the free passage of fish.
  • You must keep the bed and banks clear of any matter that could cause an obstruction, either on your land or downstream if it is washed away. Please help us to protect water quality – do not use riverbanks for the disposal of any form of garden or other waste where there is any danger that it will be washed into the river. This includes grass clippings, which are highly polluting.
  • You must keep any structures that you own clear of debris. These structures include culverts, trash screens, weirs and mill gates.

Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 you need consent to carry out works to ordinary watercourses, including changes to dams, weirs and other structures, or to pipe or culvert a watercourse. Within IDB districts it is the relevant IDB which would normally process such applications. The council, as lead local flood authority (LLFA) processes applications outside those districts.

Please refer to the downloadable map below for an area map of IDB extents area map of IDB extents [PDF, 10Mb].

If you require consent from the LLFA please download and complete the ordinary watercourse consent form Ordinary watercourse consent application form [DOC, 82Kb] and read the ordinary watercourse guidance notes Ordinary watercourse guidance notes [DOC, 47Kb].

Please contact the LLFA Drainage Team on 01724 297000 or LLFAdrainageteam@northlincs.gov.uk for further guidance or information.

Please note there will be a £50 fee payable to the LLFA via cheque for all applications.

We have put together a list of other key contacts that may be useful in an emergency:

Remember, 999 should only be used in an emergency.

BBC Radio Humberside

Tune in to 95.9FM or 1485AM, @RadioHumberside

Environment Agency

0345 988 1188

Met Office


Electric – Power Cut



(24 hour emergency service and gas escapes)
0800 111 999

Anglian Water

08457 919155

Severn Trent Water

08457 500500

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service

01482 565333 non-emergency

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

01262 672317

Humberside Police

101 non-emergency

NHS 111

(Call if you need medical help fast
but its not a 999 emergency)

National Rail Enquiries

08457 48 49 50

Highways England


Travel Line

(North and North East Lincolnshire)