We’re ready for winter whatever the weather – are you?

Keeping clear more than 60,000 roadside gullies to help storm water drain off roads, pavements and cycleways is a mammoth task for our highways teams

Nov 24 2017


They have been making sure that that our highway drainage systems are clean and well maintained ahead of winter to ensure they work as effectively as possible.  We asked our experts to tell us more:

What is the County Council doing to prevent flooding?

All year round, we carry out a cycle of inspections, clearing and maintenance work on all our gullies and catchpits. A rolling programme of drainage improvements continues to make the country’s roads more resilient to the effects of the weather. While flooding can’t be completely prevented, there is a lot we can all do to reduce the impact on our communities. Private landowners’ regular checking of ditches and watercourses to make sure they are clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris, and not blocked up by grass cuttings or silt, plays a big part in  helping to reduce the risk of flooding on local roads after heavy rainfall.

What will the County Council do if flooding does occur?

When flooding does occur, the County Council’s team of engineers are on call 24/7 to unblock highway drains and clear fallen trees from roads – all to keep the county’s roads clear and traffic moving so people can get to work and school as usual. In times of extreme weather the County Council’s priority will be to protect essential services.

What else causes flooding on the roads?

Keeping the water off Hampshire’s 5,300 miles of road surfaces after heavy rainfall is at the forefront of our work. As well as gullies in the roadsides, ditches on private land also need to be clear for water to run off the roads. That’s why we ask all residents to make sure ditches on their land are clear.

Have you looked at ways to improve the work you can do to help prevent flooding?

We are always exploring how we can use innovation and technology to help us target resources to where they make the most difference. For example last winter we  installed sensors in roadside gullies on some sections of road in a new trial. This enabled us to be more proactive in preventing gullies becoming flooded.  The sensors provided data on key factors that affect flooding on the roads, such as silt and water levels in the gullies, and combined this with weather forecasts.

What if my house is near a river?

If you own land or property next to a river, stream or ditch you are likely to be a ‘riparian landowner’ and therefore have a responsibility to keep the watercourses on your land clear and free flowing. This includes piped sections of watercourses that lie under driveways as it is these restricted locations that are often the most vulnerable to flooding and need the most attention.

What can I do to prepare myself for flooding?

While the County Council will do all it can to reduce the impact of flooding, if you live in an area at risk from flooding, you can help prepare yourself by buying sandbags in advance – available from most builder’s merchants and DIY stores. You can also register for flood alerts in your area from the Environment Agency.

More information on flood management and prevention

During the severe winter of 2013/2014, around 50 communities in Hampshire were flooded.  We’ve been working with partners such as the Environment Agency and district councils, landowners and water companies to find ways to reduce this risk in the future by making drainage improvements, putting in schemes and securing national funding, for areas such as Hambledon, Buckskin, Farringdon, Winchester and Romsey.