How we manage flooding

Herefordshire Council is a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and it has the 'lead' role in managing flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses across the county. We work with the emergency services, Environment Agency, Met Office, and the utility companies to tackle flooding within the county. Together with other partner authorities and key stakeholders in Herefordshire we have produced a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and an accompanying action plan. You can find the latest information from all of these agencies through the Flood information service.

We also have a duty to investigate incidents of flooding. You can view our 2019/20 reports and location summaries.

We work closely with organisations like the Environment Agency to help prevent flooding. Our assessment of potential risks in the county means we know which areas are mostly likely to flood. However, as flooding can happen anywhere, not just near rivers or streams, we have to be ready with contingency plans so we can react quickly should the worst happen. That means we can make faster decisions about which roads should be closed, for instance. We can also ensure that people have up-to-date information and the practical help that they need.

Landowner responsibilities

If you own land next to a river, read the Guidance on owning a watercourse on GOV.UK that outlines your rights and responsibilities. For more advice on ditch and drainage management please see our ditch and drainage responsibilities page.

Land drainage

We can use our permissive powers to deal with identified problems, generally in relation to failure by owners to carry out works or maintenance on ordinary watercourses (not main rivers) in order to maintain water flow and minimise the risk of flooding.

Land and property owners are responsible for their own property and have a responsibility for maintaining water flows, not only to protect themselves, but also their neighbours. If they fail to carry out their responsibilities, Herefordshire Council or the Environment Agency have powers to take action to alleviate particular problems under the Land Drainage Act 1991.

Emergency planning

We also have plans in place in the event of a reservoir failure and flooding at tourism sites, such as caravan and camping sites.

If you would like to know more about how we manage flooding in Herefordshire, call our Emergency Planning team on 01432 260000 or email resilienceteam@herefordshire.gov.uk

Making changes to a watercourse

So that flooding is not made worse, we need to ensure that ditches, drains and streams continue to flow properly. You may need Ordinary Watercourse Flood Defence Consent from us, if you intend to carry out work (including temporary works), which could affect the flow of water within a watercourse, which is not a main river and is not looked after by an internal drainage board. This could be a new pipe (culvert), bridge, dam, pond or other structure in the watercourse or a change to the alignment or the banks of the watercourse.

Even if you have planning permission or other consents you may still require consent. It is essential that you obtain consent before starting the work as we will not, under any circumstances, issue retrospective consent.

Our Ordinary watercourse consent information sheet contains further details and examples of structures that might require consent.

Please contact us before you apply to find out whether or not you need consent. If we have advised you that you do need to apply for consent, please read the Guidance notes for ordinary watercourse flood defence consent carefully and complete an application.

The direct and indirect environmental impacts of the proposed works should be considered. Details should be provided of any measures being undertaken to minimise disruption to the environment and to reduce any unwanted impacts while the work is being carried out. If it is felt that the proposed works would present environmental risks, then further environmental appraisal works may be requested.

For further information, the GB Non-native Species Secretariat website includes guidance and advice on how to help stop the spread of invasive plants and animals in our waters. The Herefordshire Wildlife Trust website provides information on white-clawed crayfish. You can find information on how to avoid harming protected areas and species during development work on GOV.UK.

Apply online for ordinary watercourse flood defence consent

Download a paper Application for ordinary watercourse flood defence consent

Yazor Brook/Widemarsh Brook hydraulic model

The area around the Yazor Brook in Hereford is of particular flooding concern. If you want to build or develop properties here you should look at our flood data first.