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Sandbag policy

For flood related advice see our flood recovery information.

In the event of river (or watercourse) flood containment and prevention

Our policy for sandbagging is to assist with the prevention of damage to property by flooding. This may be achieved by the filtering, containment or diversion of flood waters from rivers or watercourses.

The sole responsibility for protection of private property in the event of a flood lies with individual owners and not the District Council or any other Agency.

What we may do:

  • Provide sand and sandbags to properties (normally a maximum of 8 sandbags per property) located in formal flood warning zones in imminent risk of flooding, as identified by the Environment Agency Flood Alert Scheme. This is subject to available resources and other priorities during flooding event and providing that there are safe conditions to deliver the sandbags. Residents should take every available step to protect their property from flooding and should only call us as a last resort.

  • Provide sand and sandbags in bulk to established flood groups located in formal flood warning zones in imminent risk of flooding, as identified by the Environment Agency Flood Alert Scheme.
  • Deliver sandbags to individual residential properties that are at imminent risk of flooding, as identified by the Environment Agency Flood Alert Scheme, subject to available resources and other priorities during a flooding event and providing that there are safe conditions to deliver the sandbags.

  • Where considered appropriate, make sandbags available for collection by customers from the Contractor (Amey Limited), Depot, Old London Road, Penrith. This is only with our prior approval. Telephone 01768 817817.

  • Provide strategic sandbag stores at places vulnerable to flooding that, in the opinion of the Director of Governance, can assist in reducing the demand on resources during a flooding incident. All sandbag stores are subject to ongoing review of usage.

  • Assist in the provision of strategic sandbag stores at places vulnerable to flooding that can assist in reducing the demand on resources during an emergency flooding incident.

  • Assist properties outside of the district when requested to do so by a neighbouring Authority or resulting from a request following the implementation of the County Emergency Plan, subject to available resources.

What we will not do

  • Provide sandbags to non-residential properties not in formal flood zones.

  • Clear blocked culverts, bridges and watercourses during a flood event, or afterwards, on land that is not in our ownership.

  • Accept responsibility for placement of sandbags, except at locations where infirmity or disability is an issue.

  • Accept responsibility for the disposal of sandbags, other than in the formal flood warning zones.

  • Provide sandbags to protect gardens, outbuildings, or other structures.

  • Provide sandbags where there is deemed to be no imminent risk of flooding.

As a contingency against potential flooding risks:

Householders and commercial property owners in flood risk areas are encouraged to make their own provision for flood defence and not rely upon us to defend their property.

Sandbags will not totally prevent floodwater encroaching into properties and householders should remove articles to a safe location above the anticipated flood level. People building flood defences with sandbags should also be aware of the building methods to employ in order to make an effective seal and the health and safety implication of manual handling of sandbags as they are exceptionally heavy.

Specialist products are available commercially to help prevent flooding of domestic properties. Specialist surveying services are also available to assess individual properties and advise on appropriate flood protection measures. If you require advice on these products or services we will try to assist you.

The Environment Agency website has further information on preparing for a flood.

Community emergency plan

Once your community has an emergency plan in place, a sandbag strategic store can be established for that community. If your community has not created an emergency plan, we would like to encourage you to get advice on producing an emergency plan from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT), see contact details below and community emergency planning on ACT's website.

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria