View practical health and safety advice about cleaning up after a flood and details of organisations and services that can help.

There are a number of organisations and services that offer assistance to help you recover from flooding.

How to clean up your home safely

Advice and guidance is available from The Environment Agency and Public Health England if you have been affected by flooding.

GOV.UK offers practical advice on what to do to protect yourself and your property before, during and after a flood.

Public Health England has produced leaflets with important health advice and some basic precautions to keep you and your family safe while cleaning up your flooded home:

Yorkshire Water has information on their website about protecting yourself from flooding and how you can apply for help if the worst does happen.

Take care when deciding which traders can help you to repair your home or which services to use following floods. Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website for advice on how to spot rogue traders or phone 03454 040506.


You can visit the Association of British Insurers website for advice on recovering from floods.

If you have been affected please contact your insurer. Information on the insurance process is available here.

Flood Re

Flood Re is a flood re-insurance scheme which helps those households who live in a flood risk area find affordable home insurance.

It makes no difference to how you purchase your home insurance, whether through a price comparison site, directly from an insurer or through a broker. Once you have purchased your policy you will always deal with your own insurer even if you need to make a claim. You do not need to contact Flood Re directly.

The introduction of Flood Re means you will have peace of mind that, even after a flood claim, you should still be able to find insurance with affordable premiums and excesses.

Household waste recycling centres

You can find information about our household waste recycling centres here.

Driving through floods

View advice on driving through flood water here.

Frequently asked questions

Identifying the source of flooding is often complicated by different sources acting together, but it is an important step in determining who might be able to help and where legal responsibility lies.

Source of flooding Description and responsible party
Main river These are big rivers and those designated as having a critical impact on flood risk. The Environment Agency is responsible for these.
Sea Flooding from tidal water. The Environment Agency leads on this, as well as the risk of flooding from coastal erosion risk.
Ordinary water course Smaller water courses, ditches and drains, whether piped, culverted or open. These are usually the responsibility of the landowner.
Surface water run-off Water that does not make it into a watercourse or drain. Usually follows heavy rainfall and can come from surfaces such as roads, roofs and patios and from already saturated agricultural land and sports fields.
Groundwater Heavy and sustained levels of rainfall capable of raising the groundwater table, pushing water out onto surface or into cellars.
Public sewer

There are three types that are the responsibility of the water company:

  • surface water only, taking rainwater mostly from roofs, patios, roads and drives and serving more than one property;
  • foul only (sewage), which takes only waste water from bathrooms, toilets and kitchens and should not react to rainfall; and
  • combined, which takes both surface water and foul.
Private drainage This is usually the responsibility of the person who owns the property it drains.
Highway drainage This carries predominantly water that falls on the highway to a watercourse or a public sewer. The water usually enters through gully grates in the road or to the side of the carriageway.
Land drainage This carries predominantly drainage from agricultural land and playing fields to a water course.
Roadside ditches These can be fed by a variety of sources and are the responsibility of the owner of the adjacent land.

If you are having problems establishing responsibility for managing flood risk or need advice on setting up a local flood group to make your community more resilient, email with the following information, if possible:

  • if there has been flooding inside a property;
  • how often flooding has occurred (provide dates, if possible); and
  • where you think the water is coming from.

Safety must be your first priority, so take care, stay dry and keep warm. Please also consider the following:

  • Check on vulnerable neighbours who might need your help.
  • If your property floods before you have turned off the gas and electricity supply, DO NOT then attempt to do so.
  • Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet. Try not to walk through and NEVER swim through floodwater. You could be hit by debris in the water or swept away with the current.
  • Shallower floodwater can be hazardous, too. You may stumble over raised or open manhole covers or other unseen hazards.
  • Any floodwater can be contaminated with sewage or chemicals.
  • Do not raise manhole covers to drain away floodwater. The resulting back-flow may contain sewage.
  • Never take chances near sea defences or riverbanks or cross river bridges. Stay well away.
  • If the level gets high, cover your toilet with a sandbag to avoid back-flowing sewage.
  • Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities. If properties need to be evacuated, your local council will have opened a reception centre.
  • Listen to your local BBC radio station and listen for loud hailer announcements.
  • If you need to vacate your property, make sure all doors and windows are secured. Take all valuables and cash together with important medicines, a change of clothing and necessary supplies for babies and small children.
  • If you leave home independently to go to relatives or friends, let the police or district council know where you have gone.
  • Notify your insurance company via their emergency telephone number, if necessary, that you will probably need to make a claim. They will advise you.
  • You should not return to your home before it has been properly cleaned, dried and made safe.

You may find it useful to print and keep these points somewhere nearby as you may not have access to your computer if your property starts to flood.

  • Listen to local radio.
  • Watch national and local television news and weather.
  • Keep a list of useful telephone numbers handy, such as your district council, Floodline and your insurance company.
  • Discuss with your family what might happen.
  • Fully charge your mobile phone.
  • Ensure you have bottled water and food that does not need not to be cooked.
  • Become familiar with the Environment Agency flood warning code system and how to access it. Phone Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit the Environment Agency website for more information.
  • Put your car on higher ground if possible. It needs only two feet of water to float away.
  • Have sandbags or flood boards ready. You can make your own sandbags or see if your district council can supply them or visit the National Flood Forum's Blue Pages for flood boards and other products. You will probably need to discuss this with neighbours. For example, if you live in a terraced property, the entire row will need to plan defences. Sandbags will degrade over time and need to be checked regularly.
  • Consider how you might live upstairs.
  • Consider your pets and livestock and what could happen to them in a flood.

Think about your garden and garage:

  • What electrical sources do you have externally?
  • Do you have fungicides or garden chemicals in sheds or garages that could contaminate the floodwater and therefore the water courses?
  • Can you fit non-return valves on outside taps?
  • Where can you put garden machinery, buoyant garden ornaments and toys?
  • Decide how to protect the glass in your greenhouse with sandbags.
  • Weigh down any manhole covers with sandbags.

The Environment Agency will be able to confirm whether you live on a flood plain. Please contact them via their website or by ringing the Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

If you do live in a flood plain, you need to plan ahead: