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Who to contact to report problems with floods

Riparian Owners

The 1991 land drainage act states that the land owner (known as the riparian owner) is responsible for routine maintenance of a watercourse.

This means that if you have a ditch or watercourse in or bordering your property you are the riparian owner.

Riparian owners have a duty to accept the flow of a watercourse and allow it to pass along uninterrupted.  This includes all piped watercourses under the ground.

Not only is it an OFFENCE under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to dump garden waste, or other rubbish into ditches, it creates blockages that can cause serious flooding problems.  This is a particular problem in Frog Grove Lane, Wood Street Village.  PLEASE do not dispose of any household or garden waste into ANY local ditch; it could be your house which is affected by the subsequent flooding, or a member of your family who are killed by the black ice which forms on the road surface due to the blocked ditch.

Parish Council

As riparian owners the Parish Council is responsible for the following ditches/ponds:

  • Ditch in Coombe Lane, Perry Hill
  • Ditch that runs along the roadside - Jacobs Well Recreation Ground and the large pond
  • Ditch behind Pitch Place Green
  • Ditch in White House Lane, Wood Street Village
  • Wood Street Village pond together with the ditch connecting the pond to the adjacent stream/river beside Hill Place Farm.

Borough Council

Guildford Borough Council is the Land Drainage Authority.  They maintain water courses on land owned by the Council, because they are the riparian owners.

The Borough Council carries out annual routine maintenance on strategic watercourses where it is in the interest of the wider public.  (This does not remove responsibility from riparian owners).

The Borough Council can serve legal notices on riparian owners where watercourses have not been maintained and also undertake flood alleviation and land drainage improvement schemes, where funding is granted.

Small river floods should be reported to Guildford Borough Council - Switch board 01483 505050.

Street sweepers are used to remove leaves and other surface debris that obstruct drains. Please contact Guildford Borough Council if you think that a road is in urgent need of sweeping.

Environment Agency

Riparian Ownership information

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for floods from main rivers.  In the parish of Worplesdon there are three main rivers for which the EA is responsible:

  1. River running through Frog Grove Lane (this stream becomes a main river at the point where the stream reaches Green Lane), Wood Street Village
  2. The river running from beside the “donkey field” A322 through the middle of Whitmoor Common and
  3. The River Wey

Any problems with these rivers should be reported to the Environment Agency:

• General enquiry line - 08708 506506
• Emergency hotline - 0800 807060
• Floodline - 08459 881 188
• E-mail: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

The Environment Agency posts flood alerts for the Thames region www.environment-agency.gov.uk

County Council

The County Council is now responsible for managing the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy in accordance with The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and is looking to gather as much information as possible from the public on historic flooding, to assist in assessing future flood risk and help with the development of Flood Risk Management Plans. If you have any information on past floods that you would like to share, you can report it to the County Council via their online reporting system.

The County Council is responsible for cleaning drains on the public road (Highway drains). The County Council cleans out drains that are blocked from the inside. If you think that a drain is blocked in this way and may be the cause of a localised flood, please report it to the County Council using the online reporting form.

What is a drain?

A drain is made up of an iron grate set in the road with a pot underneath. It has an outlet pipe attached to take water into the main drainage system. The pot collects any debris, leaves, litter, soil and rubbish that is washed off the road ensuring that the collecting pipe doesn't become blocked.

Please report broken or missing drain covers to the County Council immediately via their website “general highways form” giving as precise a location as possible or phone 0300 200 1003.

What is a culvert?

A culvert is a pipe-like structure that channels the flow of a stream beneath a road.

What is the difference between a drain and a culvert?

A pipe that carries surface water is often referred to as a drain. A culvert normally refers to a structure larger than a pipe but smaller than a bridge of the type where a brook, stream or river flows beneath a road.

How often does the County Council clean drains?

The County Council cleans over 180,000 drains at the side of roads each year. The majority are cleaned once a year however in known problem areas and on major roads they clean them more frequently. They don't clean drains in car parks, blocks of flats or private roads.

Blocked drains

Reasons why drains can become blocked

• Drain covered in leaves or other debris
• Connecting pipes blocked with debris or silt;
• Tree roots blocking the pipes
• Cracks in older pipes
• Breaks in connecting pipes due to ground movement


How drains are unblocked

High-pressure hoses are used to blast through the pipes to try and clear a blockage and a root cutter attachment to clear tree roots. If this doesn’t clear the blockage a camera is used to locate the problem. Often the only solution is to dig the road up and replace the pipework.

How the drains are cleaned

A tanker with a suction hose takes five minutes to clear each drain.

• The drain cover is lifted
• The hose is lowered into the drain pot and the sediment and debris vacuumed up into the tanker
• Water is then flushed back in to the drain to ensure the system is working properly

Please help the County Council by not tipping waste such as concrete and oil down the drains as this can block the pipes and contaminate ditches, streams and rivers. If you know of someone who tips waste in to a gully please report it to the County Council via their emergency phone number 0300 200 1003.

Access to drains

Sometimes drains cannot be cleaned because cars are parked over them. If SCC needs to clean the drains in a road where there are normally cars parked, they will put signs up showing the planned cleaning dates. Please help them by parking elsewhere during this period.

Recycling drain waste

The debris and sediment that is collected is taken to a state of the art drain waste-recycling centre where 60% is recycled. Grit and sand is removed from the waste and used in asphalt and concrete production and the cleaned water is used for washing gravel.

Water utility companies

Public sewer floods are the responsibility of the water companies and should be reported to Thames Water on 0845 9200 800.

Burst water mains

Affinity Water Emergencies, water quality, supply & leak enquiries -        0845 782 3333

Monday - Friday 7am to 8pm.
Saturday - Sunday 8am to 4pm

Emergency service operates outside these hours
Leakspotters  - Available 24 hours a day -  0800 376 5325

Ordinary watercourse consents

Under the Flood and Water Management Act, the responsibility for issuing and enforcing flood defence consents on ordinary watercourses, under sections 23 and 24 of the Land Drainage Act 1991, has transferred from the Environment Agency to Surrey County Council (the lead local flood authority).

From 6th April 2012, Surrey County Council has responsibility for granting consent for works to ordinary watercourses and can take action against illegal or sub-standard work. This covers works (including temporary works) that affect water flow within the channel of an ordinary watercourse. The Flood and Water Management Act also amended the Land Drainage Act 1991 so that all culverts now require consent before the work is carried out.

Consent will be refused if the works result in an increase in flood risk or if they pose an unacceptable risk to nature conservation.

Enquiries/ applications for ordinary watercourse consent should be sent to:

Planning Development Control Technical Support Team, Surrey County Council, Room 385, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DY.

Flooding advice and weather forecasts

For advice on preparing for floods, protection against them and what to do during and after a flood, please see http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk

The Met Office posts weather information for Surrey including severe weather warnings.

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