Wet weather & flooding advice

Following a period of heavy rain, the river Avon may overspill its banks. Although severe flooding in Bradford on Avon is relatively infrequent, as the climate changes and we experience extreme weather more often, it’s important for the town to be prepared.

Who does what?

The Environment Agency  (EA) oversees flooding and coastal erosion, managing risks on main rivers and coasts, ensuring reservoir safety and collaborating with the Met Office for flood forecasts.

The EA monitors rainfall and river levels and issues flood alerts and warnings.

There are 3 types of flood warning issued by the EA:

  • flood alert – flooding is possible
  • flood warning – flooding is expected
  • severe flood warning – flooding could be a risk to life and significant disruption to communities

More information on flooding can be found on the government’s website.

Wiltshire Council is responsible for the highways in Wiltshire.

This means they maintain most of the road network in and around Bradford on Avon. The major exception is the A36, which is looked after by Highways England.

Wiltshire Council will publish a list of roads affected by flooding on its website.

Wiltshire Council also has a helpful guide on what to do and what to avoid during and after flooding.

Please note – the town council will signpost disruptions to the highways, rail and bus network when official sources make this information available to us.

Bradford on Avon Town Council coordinates the Community Emergency Volunteers (CEVs). The CEVs are a group of volunteers from the local community who want to help during times of extreme weather, civil emergency or at large scale events in the town.

We are always looking for new, enthusiastic volunteers. You can find out more about the group on our CEV page.

Temporary flood barriers

The temporary flood barriers were the property, and responsibility, of the Environment Agency. These barriers have not been deployed since 2021 due to national safety concerns.

The town council has set aside £30,000 in an earmarked reserve as a contribution towards any flood defence scheme in partnership with the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council.

We are, at every available opportunity, discussing with the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council the issue of flooding and potential prevention schemes and will update this page as and when we have updated information.

Sandbags and gel sacks

The town council has a limited number of sandbags and gel sacks which will be distributed on a ‘needs’ basis to properties at imminent risk of flooding. These will not be supplied in advance, based on forecasts, nor will they be supplied to defend gardens, sheds, outbuildings or other such structures.

How you can prepare for flooding

If flood alerts have been issued for the area, you can keep up to date by checking:

Met Office forecasts

River Avon levels at Bradford on Avon

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register is a free support service to give people in vulnerable situations extra help.

Energy suppliers will keep a Priority Services Register and if you think you should be added to their list, you will need to contact your supplier or network operator.

If you have separate gas and electricity suppliers, you will need to contact both.

The service can offer support in an emergency if you need your gas supply reconnected, advanced warning of planned power cuts and more.

Planning ahead

Water does not just flow into premises from the river. It can also seep up from the ground beneath as it becomes waterlogged. The drains are also likely to overflow and can cause flooding to properties not close to the river.

It is a good idea to find out what happened in your area during the last flood so that you can be prepared.

The emergency services prioritise who they help first in the event of a flood and it may not be you. It therefore makes sense that if your home or business premises is at risk of flooding, that you have your own plans in place to protect yourself, your property and your possessions.

The EA has a personal flood plan guide that you can use to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

You can find some useful information about flood preparation and recovery on the following websites:

Flood Mary

National Flood Forum

Property Care Association

Immediately before a building floods:

  • turn off and unplug all electrical devices
  • turn off electricity, water and gas supplies – make sure you know where these are as part of your personal flood plan
  • put photos and other personal documents above flood Level
  • lift curtains over rails above flood water levels
  • use any measures you have to stop water entering your property, such as door guards or air brick covers
  • backflow from the sewers can rise into baths and sinks – put in plugs and weigh them down – sandbag can be used in the toilet
  • move important items to safety
  • lift rugs and smaller furniture upstairs or on to tables or worktops if possible
  • get your flood kit together and prepare to move from the property
  • move any pets and vehicles away from flood areas if possible
  • make sure your mobile phone or devices are charged

When a flood happens:

  • follow warnings, information and advice issued by authorities
  • do not put yourself or others at risk
  • if possible, avoid walking or driving through flood water – the water may conceal hidden dangers and will contain pollutants and should be treated as contaminated
  • let your family or friends know you are safe

Travel

Periods of excessive heavy rain or flooding will likely impact public transport (trains and buses etc).

Disruption to local rail journeys will be announced by Great Western Railway on their website.

Local flooding will also likely affect buses services to and from Bradford on Avon, information on these disruptions will be available from:

School closures

In the event of school closures due to extreme weather, it is likely that schools will contact those parents affected. If you are concerned you have missed any information, please check with your child’s school.

After flooding

  • do not return to your home/business premises until it is safe to do so
  • remember that flood water may contain sewage and conceal hidden dangers
  • you may need gas or electricity engineers to check your supply before turning it back on
  • wear appropriate waterproof or protective clothing when cleaning up
  • contact your insurance company to start the claims process; contact your landlord if you rent your property
  • only throw away items damaged by flood water after your property and items have been checked by a loss adjuster
  • make sure you throw away items in an appropriate manner