Flood Control: Roads

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 1 February 2016.

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Photo of Nick Brown Nick Brown Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that water companies and local authorities have sufficient capacity to keep water gulleys clear of blockages since the recent floods in England; and what information his Department collects from such authorities about the scheduling of such work.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department for Transport wrote to local highway authorities in England in October 2015 reminding them ahead of the winter season to ensure drains and gullies that fall under their responsibility are inspected and cleaned in order to help reduce the risk of surface water flooding. A copy of this letter can be found at the following link:


The Department for Transport also endorses “Well maintained Highways” the code of practice on highway maintenance published by the UK Roads Liaison Group. The code explains that it is the responsibility of local highway authorities to ensure that water gulleys are clear of blockages, particularly in areas susceptible to flooding and advises that drainage systems should be free of obstructions at all times and recommends an appropriate inspection and cleansing regime to deliver this. In addition it makes it clear the frequency of emptying will also depend upon the location, extent of tree cover, level of rainfall, the extent of kerbing and the frequency of sweeping.

The Department for Transport does not collect information from either authorities or water companies as the inspection and cleansing regime is entirely an operational matter for them.

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