Flooding and land drainage

Our Service

Sections 23 to 25 of the 1991 Land Drainage Act empower the Council to take action where avoidable flood risk is occurring, for example where a watercourse has become or is becoming blocked. The Act provides the Council with powers to undertake works to Ordinary Watercourses, to consent others intending to do works, to require riparian owners to do work deemed to be necessary and to serve Enforcement Notices in the last resort. We expect all riparian owners to act responsibly.

In providing this service Cherwell works closely with its partners, notably Oxfordshire County Council as both the Highway Authority and the Lead Local Flood Authority, and the Environment Agency.

The purpose of our service is to provide proactive and reactive advice on flood risk management and reduction, and to assist the Lead Local Flood Authority in the discharge of its responsibilities.  It includes commenting on planning applications where flood risk might be a relevant matter and we assist neighbourhood Flood Action Groups to deliver their plans.

We provide advice to riparian owners to maintain the watercourses under their responsibility when this is needed.  We also discharge the Council’s power to consider and where appropriate issue consents for applications made under the Land Drainage Act for works on Ordinary Watercourses.

We do not offer an emergency service in times of impending or actual flooding, nor we do not stock or deliver sand-bags.

Environment Agency

When there is a risk of flooding the Environment Agency issues flood alerts and flood warnings. The latter is more serious than the former.

Check for flooding in Oxfordshire

Levels on individual rivers, streams and brooks in Oxfordshire can be monitored via the Environment Agency’s website.  Type in the name of a watercourse or a town/area and you will be able to see the water levels.

The Environment Agency issues a daily bulletin on flood risk in each part of the England and Wales. View their five day forecast.

You can find out more about flooding and how to prepare and deal with it in the Oxfordshire Flood Toolkit.

How you can help and stay safe

  • Look after yourself and others in flooded areas. Slow down on roads that have been affected by flooding - bow-waves caused by driving too fast can affect people's homes and damage your own vehicle.
  • River paths and canal towpaths may be closed or partially flooded so take care.
  • Check on elderly or vulnerable family members to ensure they are safe and well.
  • Sign up for the Environment Agency's Flood Alerts, especially if you live in an area you know to be at risk of flood.
  • Read about the Met Office's "Weather Ready" campaign.