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Flood warnings and planning

Find out how at risk from flooding your home or business is and sign up to alerts to make sure you’re informed of high risk days. You’ll also find a list of simple steps you can take that can reduce the impact of flooding.

How dangerous is flooding?

  • six inches of fast-flowing water can knock an adult off their feet
  • just two feet of water can float your car
  • flood water may contain pollutants and can even be contaminated with raw sewage
  • fallen electricity cables can cause electric shocks as the current passes through water
  • submerged obstacles, lifted drain and inspection covers create dangerous underwater hazards

What causes flooding?

River / fluvial flooding

This caused when the volume of water in a river is increased above that which it can hold. The River Lea puts Hackney at risk of fluvial flooding – to find out if you are at risk of flooding from the River Lea please see the Environment Agency’s information on flooding. Alternatively call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Flash / surface water flooding

This is caused by unusually heavy rainfall, which creates a greater volume of water than a drainage system has been designed to cope with. Low lying areas of ground will be affected first. Blockages in the drainage system can increase the likelihood and severity of this type of flooding.

Burst water main floods

This type of flooding is caused by burst water main pipes. It is more likely to happen during freezing winter months. You can report a burst water main to Thames Water or call their Leakline on 0800 714 614.

Reservoir flooding

This can be caused by a failure or breech in a reservoir. Although it is very rare, it can happen with little or no warning and you may need to evacuate immediately. If you live near a reservoir, you should know what to do in case of an emergency.

What could happen if there is a flood near me?

  • evacuation / de-housing. This could possibly be long term if your property has been flooded
  • lack of access. Road closures due to flooding may disable or inhibit your route to key locations such as grocery shops, GP surgeries, pharmacies, schools or your place of work
  • loss of utilities. A flood can cause utilities to fail – for example running water, electricity, gas or telephone lines. This may affect properties which aren’t flooded – for example, high rise flats / tower blocks
  • loss of life/ injuries. People can become trapped in their homes or cars (people in basement flats are at a much higher risk of becoming trapped)
  • pollution. A flood in your area can cause tap water to be deemed unsafe to drink
  • structural damage. Flood water can cause buildings, bridges and other structures to be deemed unsafe
  • huge financial and emotional trauma – the contents of your property could suffer irreversible flood damage

How can I tell if flooding is likely?

The Environment Agency and The Met Office offer free flood warning updates:

During periods of heavy rain or severe weather you can monitor local weather reports either on the television, radio (LBC 97.3FM).

How can I be prepared for flooding, and what can I do in the event of a flood?

Strategic flood risk assessment Level 2

Local flood planning work, which is part of the Greater London Authority’s overall Drain London project, aims to understand what causes flooding, where it may represent a risk and how boroughs can manage the risk and the impact on residents and businesses.

The Council has collected data from local and national sources including within the borough, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, emergency services and other risk management authorities such as Transport for London, in order to develop a clear overall understanding of the flood risks across Hackney.

This document includes maps showing areas at risk of flooding and aims to provide the best information available to allow residents and businesses to be better prepared and make informed choices.

While the production of maps indicating flood risk areas does not cause flooding, or mean it will definitely happen, under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations (2009) it is the responsibility of the Council to give a general indication of risk areas and also to provide information and advice on how everyone can reduce the risk to themselves and their property.

Hackney’s local flood risk management strategy

Thelocal flood risk management strategy sets out how the Council, together with other organisations, will deal with the risk of flooding.

Other resources and websites

  • the National Flood Forum is a charity run by people who have experienced the trauma, loss and frustration that accompany flooding and provides support and advice to communities and individuals that have been flooded or are at risk of flooding
  • the Environment Agency is responsible for making people aware of flooding from rivers and the sea, provide flood warning services and build and maintain flood defences
  • the Council is responsible for the gullies (road drains) which collect the water running off roads and pavements. Find out flooding on the highway
  • Thames Water provide water services in Hackney. Find out what to do if you have problems with drains or sewers and check the condition or quality of your tap water
  • the Health Protection Agency is now part of Public Health England. It provides practical and health advice for managing in the home with disrupted or no mains water. Read their advice about coping without mains water
  • our emergency planning services can help you prepare for a flood and other emergencies. Call 020 8356 3000 to speak to a member of staff about flooding
Page updated on: 12 June 2019

Civil protection service


Emergency Planning and Response Team
Civil Protection Centre, Stoke Newington Town Hall
184 Stoke Newington Church Street
N16 0JR

Opening times

  • The Civil Protection Control Centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week