Who has responsibility in a flood?

There is no single organisation responsible for all flooding across Calderdale. Instead, we use a multi-agency approach with different organisations (and even members of the community) managing different types of flooding.

The table below explains exactly who each organisation is and what their responsibilities are. To report flooding, visit the Report a Hazard page.

Calderdale Council

As the Lead Local Flood Authority, Calderdale Council is accountable for ensuring effective management of local flood risks in cooperation with other ‘risk management’ authorities.

It is also responsible for investigating flooding, authorising consent to works and carrying out enforcement action in relation to ordinary watercourses. Ordinary watercourses are those that are not part of the main river network or Internal Drainage Board network, including drains, ditches, streams etc. Water doesn’t have to flow through it all the time for it to be classed as a watercourse. The basic duty of responsibility for ordinary watercourses remains with the landowner (Land Drainage Act 1991).

Other duties include maintaining a register of locations or features that may have a significant effect on flood risk, and drawing up and maintaining a Flood Risk Management Strategy.

What will the Council do in a flood?
The Council works with the Emergency Services and the Environment Agency to co-ordinate responses during severe flooding. It also:

  • Provides advice to the public about the incident and what to do.
  • When needed, sets up rest centres for people evacuated from their homes who have nowhere else to go.
  • Deals with road closures and diversion routes. 
  • Helps with the care and welfare of known vulnerable people.
  • Monitors sensitive gullies and other minor waterways to keep them running free.
  • Tries to provide assistance if your property is at serious risk and the Council has available resources.

The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is responsible for flood risk management activities on main rivers, regulating reservoir safety, and providing river flood warnings. It has powers to undertake work on main rivers to fix flooding issues.

Contact the Environment Agency if you are having a flooding issue from a main river, reservoir, or if you wish to carry out work on a main river.

Local Communities

Community flood groups, together with Town and Parish Councils, play an important role in managing flood risk at the community level. They can help gather and report information on flooding, prepare community flood plans and represent/provide advice to members of the community. They can also be crucial in helping to raise additional funding and undertaking regular maintenance.

Also at the community level, natural flood management groups are working to slow the rate of water runoff and increase the volume of water that the landscape can hold in order to reduce the risk of flooding.

Highways Agency

The Highways Agency is responsible for drainage on the M62 motorway in Calderdale.

Yorkshire Water

Water and sewerage companies are responsible for managing the flooding and flood risk from public sewers and water mains across the county. This includes maintaining essential water supply and sewerage services during a flood, and in some instances playing a role in surface water incidents.

Contact Yorkshire Water in the event of flooding from one of their burst water mains or sewers.

Riparian Owners

(landowner of any kind; be it a homeowner, business owner, community, farmer, developer, authority, tenant with property immediately adjacent to a watercourse)

Riparian owners are responsible for maintaining and clearing debris (even if this is not from their land) from the watercourse or ditch as well as vegetation on the banks, in order to keep these clear and prevent flooding. As a riparian owner you could face legal action if a lack of maintenance of your watercourse causes flooding.

More information on riparian ownership here

Where can I get more information?

If you would like to get a better understanding of flooding, visit the Environment Agency website or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.  For information and practical advice on what to do before, during and after a flood, you can download materials from the Gov.uk publications catalogue or order them from Floodline.