Flood risk information and frequently asked questions for Loughborough can be found below.

Which organisation is responsible for my stretch of river?

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency carries out maintenance, improvement or construction work on main rivers to manage flood risk. We are also responsible for working in partnership with the Met Office to provide flood forecasts and warnings. The main river map (link below) shows which rivers are designated as ‘main rivers’. In Loughborough, the River Soar and downstream reaches of the Black Brook, Willow Brook, Burleigh Brook, Wood Brook, Grammar School Brook and Hermitage Brook are main rivers.

Other rivers are called ‘ordinary watercourses’. Lead Local Flood Authorities, District Councils and Internal Drainage Boards carry out flood risk management on ordinary watercourses.

To see a map of the Main River network, please visit: https://environment.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=17cd53dfc524433980cc333726a56386

Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA)

LLFAs are county councils and unitary authorities. They are responsible for managing and investigating the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses (smaller watercourses) and lead on community recovery. For information for your local council, please contact:

Leicestershire County Council
0116 232 3232

Internal Drainage Board

Each Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a public body that manages water levels in an area, known as an internal drainage district, where there is a special need for drainage. IDBs undertake works to reduce flood risk to people and property, and manage water levels for agricultural and environmental needs within their district. However, not all areas are covered by an IDB, and your area does not fall within an internal drainage district.

For more information, please visit: www.ada.org.uk/idb-map/

Who owns my stretch of river?

The owner of a watercourse is usually the owner of the land that the watercourse runs on or under. Where the watercourse is on the boundary of the land, the landowner is responsible for the watercourse up to its centre.

If you own a watercourse, for example a river, culvert, brook or mill stream, you must maintain the river beds and banks and not obstruct the water flow. You should also call the Environment Agency incident hotline 0800 807060 to report flooding, collapsed or badly damaged banks, or any blockages which could cause flooding to main rivers.

Further guidance on owning a watercourse can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse

Where can I find details for recent planning applications, and whether flood risk has been considered?

Information on local planning applications can be found on our website.

Planning applications for developments within flood zones require a flood risk assessment to be submitted with the application. Find out more about flood zones and flood risk assessments here: www.gov.uk/guidance/flood-risk-assessment-for-planning-applications

The Environment Agency provides expert statutory and discretionary advice to planners, developers, and communities, provides evidence on the capacity and value of the environment to aid decision-making, and attracts investment into the environment.

The Environment Agency’s External Consultation Checklist informs Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) of the types of development where we should be consulted. It describes the categories of development that could potentially impact on the environment and includes those for which we are listed as a statutory consultee in Schedule 4 of the Development Management Procedure Order (DMPO) and current Government planning policy.

With particular reference to flood risk, the Environment Agency is consulted on certain types of development within Flood Zones 2 and 3. Paragraph 155 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that where development is proposed in areas at risk of flooding ‘the development should be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere’. Whilst the onus is on applicants to demonstrate this in a site specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA), the LPA will ultimately need to satisfy themselves that this requirement has been met. Depending on the particular flood risks to a site, the LPA may be required to seek the views of the Environment Agency and/or the Lead Local Flood Authority.

For further details on specific planning applications, please contact Charnwood Borough Council on 03456 091258.

Where can I find a map that will show the flood risk for my area?

You can view flood risk maps for your area by visiting: www.flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/map

Type your postcode in the search box on the right-hand side to zoom into your area, and then click and drag the map to pan around. You can switch between maps of flood risk from rivers or from surface water by selecting the different options in the drop-down menu on the left-hand side.

To find out more about your area’s long-term flood risk, please visit: www.flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk

What maintenance will be carried out to my stretch of river?

The Environment Agency carry out weekly to monthly maintenance checks on the main rivers in Loughborough. Quarterly maintenance includes vegetation management, invasive non-native plant species removal and vermin control, to ensure bank stability is maintained. A desilt of the downstream reaches of the Wood Brook is also planned.

To see the maintenance schedule, please visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-and-coastal-maintenance-programme

We also carry out ad hoc maintenance works as and when issues are reported. Please call the Environment Agency incident hotline 0800 807060 to report collapsed or badly damaged banks, or any blockages which could cause flooding to main rivers.

Is anything being planned for the future?

The Environment Agency are currently in the early stages of investigating the feasibility of a Flood Risk Management Scheme within Loughborough. Work is underway to improve our understanding of main river flood risk throughout Loughborough. This includes the reach of the Wood Brook between Belton Road and Jubilee Drive. Once we have an up-to-date detailed understanding of risk, that takes into account the evidence from the recent flood events, we will be investigating multiple interventions to develop a Flood Risk Management Scheme.

Once a viable scheme has been developed the funding to deliver it will have to be secured. This can only be done using partner contributions alongside central government funding. Delivery of interventions will require key partner working, and we have already begun working alongside other Risk Management Authorities including Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council. As our work continues we will also be reaching out to wider stakeholders and partners to develop and deliver the best scheme possible.

A comprehensive Flood Risk Management Scheme will form part of our medium to long term strategy within Loughborough, and where opportunities arise we will aim to accelerate delivery.

What is the Flood Warning Service and how do I register?

The Environment Agency issue Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings to inform the public of expected flooding.

Flood Alerts are issued when low-lying land and roads are expected to flood. This is an early indication of possible further flooding.

Flood Warnings are issued when property flooding is expected. Upon receiving a Flood Warning, immediate action may be required to protect your property.

You can sign up to receive Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings by phone, email or text message if your home or business is at risk of flooding.

To register for this free service, please visit: www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings

You’ll need to provide:

  • the address you’re registering
  • a phone number which you can be contacted on day or night
  •  an email address

You can also register, update your details or cancel your account by calling Floodline: 0345 988 1188 (24-hour service).

River Levels Online

Current river levels at our gauge stations can be viewed here: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/river-and-sea-levels

River levels are updated at least once a day during normal flows, and up to hourly during flooding. For Loughborough, levels for the River Soar can be viewed at the nearby Pillings Lock river gauge, and Wood Brook levels can be viewed at the Loughborough river gauge.

How can I make my property flood resilient?

There are many things you can do to protect your property and your belongings from flooding. A great way to start is by creating a personal flood plan. A template can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-flood-plan

For advice and information on property resilience products and simple ways to reduce the damage caused by flood water, please visit The National Flood Forum (www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk), which is a charity aimed at supporting individuals and communities at risk of flooding.

The National Flood Forum also provide an independent directory of property flood resilience products, called Blue Pages (www.bluepages.org.uk), which can help to advise and inform you of what’s available to help reduce the risk of flooding to your property.

Where can I get sandbags?

Sandbags are a short-term and relatively cheap way to manage flooding but only if they are filled and placed correctly. However, they are not as effective as purpose-designed flood resilience products (please see www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk for information on such products).

Your local council may have some sandbags ready to deploy at times of flooding, but their priority is to protect the public at large. You can check our website if you need to get access to sandbags before flooding starts (please visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/sandbag_policy).

Remember, during a flood crisis there may be limited stocks per person or supply routes may get blocked. You can buy unfilled sandbags and a supply of sand from most DIY stores and builders merchants, but remember that if there is a flood expected in your area demand may exceed supply as people rush to buy them. In an emergency you can use alternatives such as pillow cases or refuse sacks and fill them with garden soil.

For information on how to use sandbags properly for flood protection, please visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sandbags-how-to-use-them-to-prepare-for-a-flood

As a community, you can apply for a grant for a community resilience store, which can be used to store equipment such as sandbags. Please see Question 9 (Additional Grant Funding) for more information.

How can I help my community during a flood?

You can help your community before, during and after flooding by becoming a community Flood Warden. Flood Wardens are volunteers who are trained by the Environment Agency and the Local Authority, and can help prepare the community by:

  • Monitoring the rivers for obstructions and hazards, and reporting these to the Environment Agency
  • Contributing to the creation of a community flood plan
  • Helping to prepare the local community
  • Offering support during flooding
  • Keeping residents informed of the ongoing situatio
  • Monitoring the situation locally and reporting back to the Environment Agency and local authorities

Activities that Flood Wardens do not carry out include:

  • Putting themselves at risk or entering flood water 
  • Rescuing people or animals (this is the role of the emergency services)
  • Unblocking watercourses (this must be done by professionals)
  • Closing roads or diverting traffic

If you are interested in becoming a Flood Warden, please contact the Environment Agency on 0114 282 5312 or enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk, and we will be happy to provide more information. We will let you know if there is an existing scheme in your community which you can join, or help you to set one up.

Summary of Local Flood Risk

Wood Brook

The new debris screen at Holt Drive on the Wood Brook was installed by the Environment Agency in April 2016. The design improvement was in line with the Defra best practice guidance. Safety modifications to the existing screen working platform were made to enable our workforce to safely remove debris from the brook.

Reasons for installing the new debris screen included:

  • Area for storage of debris did not retain the debris, it was washed back into the watercourse.
  • The working platform was at the incorrect height; it was quickly inundated with flood water during high Brook flows.

A remote camera was also installed at Holt Drive in September 2016. The camera is used by our Flood Incident Duty Officers & Field Team Operatives to target incident response activities before, during and after flood events.

In 2018 raised vehicular access was constructed and a dropped kerb was installed. These improvements were to allow vehicular access to ease the clearing of the debris screen. The raised ground was proposed to allow dry access to the screen.

Wood Brook has no raised defences and therefore the channel capacity is the only flood defence. This has been computer hydraulic modelled to be at 1:25yr to 1:30yr (this is a flood that has a 4-5% probability of occurring in any one year), bank full levels and flows exceeding this will be out of bank and cause flooding to localised properties.

This flood risk is shown on our flood risk maps available on the following link: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk

The flooding on 16 February 2020 was caused by the high levels of rainfall experienced on the already saturated catchment area. This large amount of water ran off the land, entered the watercourse, overtopped the banks at Holt Drive and flooded the surrounding area.

CCTV cameras and telemetry systems were used to monitor all debris screens in Loughborough before, during and after this flood incident and this information was used to prioritise our response.

Prior to the flood incident, the Environment Agency Field Team was out on Friday 14 February clearing a blockage on Wood Brook upstream of Holt Drive, and ensured all the debris screens in Loughborough were clear of debris in preparation for the forecast rainfall.

On 16 February, two field team members left our depot in Rothley at around 01:40 and arrived at Holt Drive debris screen at 02:00, and by 02:10 they were at Forest Road debris screen. They were in the Loughborough area on all debris screens until around 05:25. A lorry fitted with a crane was sent to remove the debris from the screens later that morning.

We encourage you to report any blockages obstructing the Brook and any out of bank flows to our incident hotline number on 0800 807060. This information will then be passed to our Incident Duty Officer for review, recording and any appropriate action. This will enable us assess the level of flood risk and remove any blockages that present a localised increase of flood risk or monitor the situation further.

Following a review of our routine maintenance programme for Wood Brook, we can confirm that under our permissive powers contained within the Floods and Water Management Act 2010, we routinely carry out channel maintenance work on the Brook to aid flow of water downstream and thereby reduce flood risk.

We also inspect the Brook regularly and remove any debris in the watercourse where observed. Our Operations Field Team carried out vegetation management work on the brook in November 2018 & 2019 which included tree & bush clearance to reduce flood risk in the area.

Our routine maintenance programme is now published on our external website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-and-coastal-maintenance-programme

However, it is the responsibility of the riparian owner to remove any debris from their land that can cause flooding to other landowners’ property. Landowners normally own a length of watercourse to the centre line of the channel and their ownership will be shown on the title deeds for their property. In law they are deemed the riparian owner. The rights and responsibilities of a riparian owner are explained here: www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse

The Environment Agency is committed to working with natural processes and using natural flood management measures wherever possible to slow, store and filter floodwater. This commitment builds on recommendations of the Pitt Review and lessons learnt from the 2007 floods.

The Loughborough Flood Risk Management Scheme is being developed in order to review the possibility of reducing the risk of flooding to approximately 1,000 residential properties in Loughborough, from the Wood Brook, Burleigh Brook and the Grand Union Canal.

Opportunities for incorporating natural flood management measures for this appraisal have been explored. This has led to the identification of a number of different sites upstream of Wood Brook which have the potential to be used for Natural Flood Management.

Last updated: Mon 8th January, 2024 @ 10:25