If water is coming into your property now, do the following immediately. Phone 999 and ask for the fire brigade. Follow the advice on what you should do. To report flooding, where you are not in immediate danger, contact the Environment Incident hotline.

Am I at risk of flooding?

Being prepared for flooding could save your life and your property. Please follow the link to the Environment Agency's website, which includes the national flood map, to find out if you are at risk of flooding from inland watercourses and the sea. It includes a postcode search so that you can easily locate your property or land.

The Environment Agency's website contains information on how the flood map should be read, and explains the likelihood of a flood. This should be read in conjunction with the flood maps to obtain a clear understanding of flood risk and how it affects you. If you have any questions regarding the flood map, please contact the Environment Agency direct.

Attached to this page is an overview map of the Chichester District that illustrates flood risk from rivers and the sea. This has been extracted from Environment Agency data and should only be used as a summary of the flood risk in the Chichester District. It should be noted that the flood maps illustrate the flood risk, assuming there are no flood defences in place. In many places there are good standard flood defences in place, and therefore the amount of floods experienced in the Chichester District are hugely reduced. Maintenance of flood defences is never guaranteed however, and so the flood maps illustrate a worst case scenario.

Through experiences with land drainage in the past, Chichester District Council has built up some historic data on actual flood events. If you are considering buying a property or land in the District and are concerned about flood risk, you can write to us and ask that we conduct a search of our data for a specific property or piece of land. Please note however that there is a time charge is soon to be introduced for conducting a search and the response made will be purely based on our in-house records.

Not all flood events are reported to us and therefore if we have no evidence to suggest that the property or land in question has ever flooded, it does not rule out historic flooding, it just means we are not aware of it.

If you would like us to conduct a search, please submit an Information Request by applying to the Council in writing with the following information:

  • The address of the land in question;
  • A map showing the location of the land, clearly delineating the boundary of the land in question;
  • Any reasonable and specific questions regarding the land;
  • A statement of a date when you require the information by (we aim to respond within ten working days upon receiving the request);
  • Please address the information request to Building and Environmental Management.

The information is held at the Council and provided in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Flooding and emergency planning

In England, the Environment Agency has the strategic overview for flood risk management from all causes of flooding, including rivers, the sea, groundwater, reservoirs and surface water. The Environment Agency works with the District Council to make people aware of flood risk.

Flooding is a part of nature. It is neither technically feasible nor economically viable to prevent all properties from flooding. The Environment Agency working in partnership with other authorities including the District Council, aim to reduce flood risk and minimise the harm caused by flooding. The Environment Agency take a risk based approach to this, to achieve the best results possible using the budget and resources available. The Environment Agency have calculated that in England:

  • One in six homes is at risk of flooding;
  • Over 2.4 million properties are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, of which nearly half a million are at significant risk;
  • One million of these are also vulnerable to surface water flooding with a further 2.8 million properties susceptible to surface water flooding alone;
  • 55 per cent living in flood risk areas knew they were at risk and for these three out of five of them had taken some action to prepare for flooding;
  • 430,000 people have signed up for the Environment Agency Floodline Warnings Direct service;
  • A sizeable part of the nation's important infrastructure and public services are in flood risk areas.  For example, over 55 per cent of water and sewage pumping stations/treatment works are in flood risk areas, with 34 per cent at significant risk.

Flooding and insurance

Flooding can affect your ability to get buildings and contents insurance.

The Environment Agency produces maps detailing flood risks within an area. Most insurance companies have the same information. For further information go to the "Am I at risk from flooding" section.

There are a number of guides that can help you to maintain a level of cover and in some cases reduce your premiums. See off site links for further information.

Flooding on highways and in ditches

Flooding on roads and highways are the responsibility of West Sussex County Council. They are the Highways authority for this area.

Blocked drains and ditches can cause surface water flooding making roads impassable.

If you see a blocked drains contact West Sussex County Council Highways or report it on the West Sussex County Council - report a problem  webpage.

If a road is flooded please do not contact the Fire Brigade as they will not pump out water from highways in most circumstances.

Watercourses and ditches

There are certain legal responsibilities and rights placed on land owners who have a watercourse that adjoins their land. This is known as "Riparian rights". For more information view the  Environment agency - guidance for riverside owners webpage.

Main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

If you see a blocked watercourse or ditch contact the Environment Agency Incident hotline.

Our involvement during a flood

If a major flood event occurs in Chichester, Chichester District Council may be required to operate its Emergency Plan. Dependant on the scale of the flood and what's affected, this will involve:

  • Working with the police, fire and rescue services, West Sussex County Council, Health organisations and the Environment Agency to co-ordinate responses during severe flooding.
  • Providing local advice to the public about the incident and what to do.
  • Setting up rest centres for people evacuated from their homes and arranging temporary shelters or accommodation for those people who have nowhere else they can go to.
  • Dealing with road closures and disruption to social services in association with West Sussex County Council.
  • Investigation of disruption caused by overflowing drains.
  • Where possible, providing sandbags and other emergency provisions.

There is a specific flood plan to cover the area of Selsey. This plan is owned by the Sussex Resilience Forum but maintained by Chichester District Council emergency planning.

Preparing for flooding

If you are in an area that is at risk of flooding, it is important that you make preparations to keep your home, business and those close to you safe.

Do not wait until flooding is imminent. Take precautions now.

Sandbag note

Do not rely on your local authority to supply sandbags. It is your responsibility to make your own preparations.

Although Chichester District Council have a supply of sandbags it may not be possible to deliver to all households that request them. Priority will be given to the most vulnerable and protecting infrastructure such as roads or electrical sub stations. In most cases there will be a charge for this service.

The benefits of preparing your property

  • Reduces the time you are out of your property.
  • Reduces the time and inconvenience to those affected by a flood.
  • It is more likely that you will be able to maintain adequate insurance cover.
  • Your insurance premiums may reduce.
  • Most importantly you will have piece of mind.

Preventive measures

Follow these suggestions to protect your property from flooding.

1. Make a flood plan. This contains all the information you will needs should flooding occur. It will help you and others around you to take the necessary action calmly.

2. Protect your property. It is not possible to completely flood proof your property however you can greatly reduce the flow of water be taking some simple steps:

  • Install flood protection barriers and air brick covers to your property. Click on National Flood Forum Blue Pages to look at available products.
  • Consider raising the door thresholds. This will greatly reduce the effects of shallow water flooding.
  • Fit water resistant door and window frames.
  • Use waterproof paint and sealant on the exterior.
  • Change the design of your garden and driveway to divert water away from your property. You may also consider installing a French drain (search for French drain on a search engine for more information).
  • Install non-return valves in drainage pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the house.
  • Keep a supply of sandbags or flood sacks (See sandbag issue and guidance).

3. Create a ready bag.

What you should do after it floods

It costs households millions of pounds a year to repair the damage caused by flooding. There is a number of guides to steer you through the process.

Our role in recovery

Local authorities are the lead organisation for recovery to any emergency. In the event of a major flood, Chichester District Council works in partnership with West Sussex County Council and other responders to work towards restoring the community back to normality.

Choosing a contractor

As with any adverse weather incident damage is caused there is always an increase in building companies offering their services. Be guided by your insurance company before instructing any builder to carry out works. Only use reputable building companies and never except the offer of a builder who knocks on your door. See the Advice on cold calling  website for more information.

See the West Sussex County Council Buy with Confidence scheme  or Checkatrade - Approved and vetted building contractors  websites to find a reputable contractor.

Waste disposal - your responsibility

You are responsible for ensuring all waste is properly disposed of. You may do this by hiring a skip or employing a licensed water carrier. Do not allow waste to be collected by someone who cannot supply a correct licence as you are committing an offence.

What you should do when it floods

If your property is being flooded, dial 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

Do the following to reduce the effects of the water coming into your property. Do not wait until it is too late.

  • switch off the electric and gas supply;
  • tune into your local radio to listen for advice about warnings in your area, information and instructions from the emergency services. If you have a mobile phone capable of internet access consider subscribing to various twitter accounts as detailed on the Warning and Informing page;
  • if you have a home emergency plan put it into action (see Preparing for emergencies page);
  • put in place any flood protection equipment to block doors, windows, air bricks and ground floor toilets. (See Preparing for flooding page);
  • move any high value items to high ground;
  • tie up curtains;
  • if possible, roll up carpets and move to high ground;
  • move any furniture to high ground. If this not possible stack the furniture with low value items at the bottom;
  • gather any medication. Put in a watertight bag and keep it with you;
  • tie up and secure any rubbish to prevent escape;
  • move any chemicals to high ground;
  • be prepared to be evacuated. If you have a ready bag keep it close by;
  • have ready a spare set of clothing and toiletries and place them in a bag;
  • have a supply of food and hot drinks. A flood may last longer than you think;
  • do not allow children to touch the flood water; and
  • consider the risks of contaminated water

Travel advice during a flood

Flood water is dangerous. Do not travel in heavy rainfall unless absolutely necessary.

Do not drive through flooded roads. You could become stranded. Two feet of water is enough to sweep a car away. The road may be deeper than it looks.

Do not attempt to travel on foot through flooded areas even if it appears shallow. Flood water can be fast moving and undercurrents can cause you to fall over and be swept away. Six inches is enough for you to be swept away. Manhole covers may be missing, increasing the risk of injury.

Check on your neighbours

If it is possible, check on your neighbours and offer assistance.