Types of emergency
Information on protecting yourself and your property from flooding.
In this section
- Are you at risk of flooding?
- What to do during a flood
- Who to contact when flooding occurs
- What is being done to reduce flood risk?
- Flood risk evidence and assessments
- Flood investigations
If you need to report a flood, use our online form below. If your report requires immediate response, call 01895 556000. If calling after 5pm, call 01895 250111. If you believe there is a risk to life call 999.
The council has collated some useful information on a local flood and water information map. It contains some of the information produced by the government on the risks you face.
Reducing risk to you and your community
- If you are at risk, check the National Flood Forum or speak to a Floodline adviser on 0345 988 1188 to find out how to stay safe during a flood
- Create a personal flood plan of what you should do and who you should contact
- Residents at risk of flooding should sign up for flood warnings from the Environment Agency
- Residents can help reduce their risk of flooding and the risk to others by ensuring hard surfaces are permeable and or introducing sustainable drainage
- Know the drainage system within your property boundary and check that it is clear of blockages
- Purchase flood protection products. The National Flood Forum (Blue Pages) is an independent directory of flood products and those offering services
- Ensure that all development has an appropriate Flood Risk Assessment where needed with any planning application submitted - please see the government website for information
- If your property is at risk, you can read guidance on getting the right insurance
- If you've had, or are having, work done to protect your home, request a flood risk report to provide to your insurer.
Keep up to date with the weather
Use the Met Office website to keep up with issued weather warnings.
You can also check the river and sea levels.
Call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 (24 hour service) for updates
Heavy rain may result in flooding on roads. If this occurs, we will update our social media with advice and information. Please reconsider if any journeys are actually necessary.
Protecting your home
- Block doors and air vents with plastic sheets and duct tape
- Store drinking water in clean containers
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies (if you can safely)
- Have a grab bag available if you need to live in a different part of the house or move into a neighbour's house
- Read the Environment Agency advice to prepare for and get help during and after a flood
- Keep children, vulnerable people and pets out of floodwater
- Avoid walking through flood water
- Avoid driving through flood water as only a small amount can float a car
- Be aware of other hazards such as fallen power lines and trees
- Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch floodwater as it may be contaminated
To prevent a risk to life, please allow sufficient time to evacuate your property in advance of water surrounding the property. If you believe there is a risk to life call 999.
Flooding can occur from a variety of sources. Roles and responsibilities and contact details of different bodies in managing flood risk can be found below.
Source of flooding
Who to contact
All rivers are the responsibility of landowners known as 'riparian owners'.
Main rivers are mapped registered by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency undertakes some maintenance work in high risk areas.
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.
Ordinary watercourses or small ditches or rivers are the responsibility of landowners. These are mapped by the council.
If a landowner wishes to pipe, alter a pipe or dam an ordinary watercourse, they should apply for consent from the council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01895 556000.
Roadside ditches belong to the adjoining landowner and not the highway authority, except where land has been acquired for new road building.
Where we own land, we have a programme for clearance and maintenance. These may all be piped or culverted, but this does not change the responsibility.
The Canal and River Trust are responsible for the canals in Hillingdon.
For non-emergency related matters, call them on 0303 040 4040.
For emergencies, call the 24-hour number on 0800 479 9947.
Pipes and drains
Sewers in Hillingdon are the responsibility of the utilities company, Thames Water.
Sewer flooding can occur due to sewer bursts or an increased flow and volume of water entering a sewer system which exceeds its capacity, causing water to be pushed out. If sewer outfall points are either blocked or submerged due to high water levels, water can back up in a sewer system and cause flooding.
If you think there is a blockage, use the Blockages and blocked drains | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water to report it, or if your property has been flooded by a public sewer, Flooding and pollution | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.
Please complete their sewer flooding questionnaire and post it back to them as this is the only way they prioritise any longer term work which may be required.
Surface water 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 ponding in low-lying areas. It is typically caused by short intense rainfall. This is identified as the biggest flood risk to residents in Hillingdon.
Most roads have gully pots at the side of the road which captures the water, this then flows into Thames Water sewers in most cases. We are responsible for clearing over 36,000 gullies in Hillingdon, the highway maintenance team clear all of these on an annual basis, and in some priority areas more frequently.
After heavy rain, it is expected to see some water in the road or on open land, despite work undertaken to prevent this. This is sometimes because other parts of the drainage system is blocked.
However, if water is still present after a few hours and you believe the issue is being caused by a blocked or damaged gully, you can report this to us:
You can use the form above to report a missing gully cover.
You can also tell us about a problem with a roadside ditch.
Gullies that are present in private roads are the responsibility of the land owner usually shared ownership between residents.
Groundwater flooding occurs because of the underground water table rising, which can result in water emerging through the ground and causing flooding in extreme circumstances. This source of flooding tends to occur after extensive periods of heavy rainfall.
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 in Hillingdon that are managed by different companies and landowners.
We are a lead local flood authority and only one of a number of bodies that have a role in reducing flood risk.
More information on all the projects on the River Pinn can be found on the Environment Agency website.
The council has a portfolio of document providing the evidence on flood risk and setting out the actions to be taken:
- Read our Local Flooding Risk Management Strategy [1MB]
- A preliminary flood risk assessment is used to gain a high level overview on the risk of flooding and to record historic flood events in Hillingdon. You can see the Hillingdon preliminary flood risk assessment document on the government website.
- We have also created a Surface water management plan to identify areas prone to surface water flooding, and groundwater issues.
- The west London boroughs of Brent, Barnet, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow have commissioned a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA).
- A flood risk assessment is a report which must accompany certain applications to ensure that the land or property is suitable for the proposed development. Some planning applications must be accompanied by a flood risk assessment. Please note that Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are a material planning consideration and should be considered within any development.
- Flood Risk Assessment Guidance for minor householder applications [123KB] has been developed by Hillingdon's flood team.
Reports of flooding to the council are collated and recorded, and significant flooding (where properties or businesses have been flooded internally) trigger an investigation, which will be published.
- The flood investigation report for October 2019 is being drafted
- Flood Investigation Report 23 June 2016 [78MB]
- Flood Investigation Report 28 July 2014 [1MB]
- Flood Investigation Report December 2013 to June 2014 [1MB]
It is key for the council to understand the full extent of the flooding and reporting the issues after the event is critical. Although reports will be collated from various internal departments and external organisations, if you can use the form linked below, this will ensure you provide all the relevant details needed. Photographs with timestamps are particularly useful.
Note: the form is not to be used to request emergency help or action from the various departments within the council.
If you need further help and guidance, or information on Ordinary Watercourse Consents, please email email@example.com.