Please note that this document has been produced by the Environment Agency.
- Which organisation is responsible for my stretch of river?
- Who owns my stretch of river?
- Where can I find details for recent planning applications, and whether flood risk has been considered?
- Where can I find a map that will show the flood risk for my area?
- What maintenance will be carried out to my stretch of river?
- What is the Flood Warning Service and how do I register?
- How can I help to make my property flood resilient?
- Where can I get sandbags?
- How can I help my community during a flood?
Which organisation is responsible for my stretch of river?
The Environment Agency carries out maintenance, improvement or construction work on main rivers to manage flood risk. They are also responsible for working in partnership with the Met Office to provide flood forecasts and warnings. The map of main river network shows which rivers are designated as ‘main rivers’. In Retford, the River Idle and downstream reaches of the Retford Beck 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.
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. Your LLFA is Nottinghamshire County Council. For more information, please contact:
Nottinghamshire County Council
0300 500 80 80
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.
There are 112 IDBs in England. They play a key role in reducing flood risk to over 600,000 people and nearly 900,000 properties. They operate and maintain over 500 pumping stations, 22,000 km of watercourse, 175 automatic weed screen cleaners and numerous sluices and weirs.
For more information, please visit Internal Drainage Board or contact:
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.
Where can I find details for recent planning applications, and whether flood risk has been considered?
Information on local planning applications can usually be found on the planning pages of our website.
Planning applications for developments within flood zones require a flood risk assessment to be submitted with the application.
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 they should be consulted. It describes the categories of development that could potentially impact on the environment and includes those for which they 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.
Where can I find a map that will show the flood risk for my area?
You can view flood risk maps for your area. 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.
What maintenance will be carried out to my stretch of river?
The Environment Agency carry out scheduled quarterly maintenance checks of the River Idle and Retford Beck, and quarterly operational checks on the weir and outfall. Vegetation management and tree maintenance is also carried during the spring and summer, which involves pruning overhanging branches and ensuring trees and bushes don’t impede the flow of water, as well as coppicing some trees to ensure bank stability is maintained. View the maintenance schedule.
The Environment Agency 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.
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 or register online if your home or business is at risk of flooding.
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 the Environment Agency's gauge stations can be viewed on the flood warning information service river and sea levels page.
River levels are updated at least once a day during normal flows, and up to hourly during flooding. Levels for the River Idle can be viewed at the nearby Ordsall river gauge.
How can I help to make my property flood resilient?
There are many things you can do to help protect your property and your belongings from flooding. A great way to start is by creating a 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, 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, 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.
Residents are encouraged to make sure their property is protected as far as possible. When flooding is likely, Nottinghamshire County Council may have limited supplies of sandbags to provide to vulnerable residents, who are unable to provide their own.
If you are not eligible to receive sandbags from your council, 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.
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 situation
- 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 (unless you have completed training as part of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Flood Signage Scheme)
To find out more about Flood Wardens, please contact the Environment Agency on 0114 282 5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will let you know if there is an existing scheme in your community which you can join, or help you to set one up.
Additional Grant Funding
As a community, you can also apply for a grant for a community resilience store, which can be used to store flood resilience equipment such as sandbags and flood boards.
For more information, please contact your local authority, who can help by identifying grant funding from other organisations such as the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC).
Contact email@example.com to enquire.
Last Updated on Thursday, May 18, 2023