What you can do now

Check with the Environment Agency for up to date flood warnings. If you are a resident or business owner, you can sign up for automatic phone, text and email warnings for your area.

When needed, our floodline is open on 01983 823111

Preparing for a flood

You can prepare for flooding by following some simple steps:

  1. Check the Environment Agency website to find out if your area is at risk from flooding and advice on how to protect your property.
  2. Make a personal flood plan or a flood plan for communities and groups.
  3. Prepare your business for flooding using advice on the government website.
  4. Sign up online for floodline warnings direct. It is a free service that provides flood warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile or email. You can also sign up by calling 0345 988 1188.

Our response

If there are any reports of serious incidents of flooding the Council will co-ordinate the response and liaise with the Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency.

In case you are affected by flooding

Useful contacts in case of flood:

  • evacuation - if you need to be evacuated because of severe flooding or damage, contact the police or dial 999
  • general flooding issues - contact us on 01983 823600
  • main river or sea - if you believe the flooding is from a main river or the sea, contact the Environment Agency
  • highway or drainage - to report flooding on the highway or drainage issues, contact Island Roads
  • mains sewage/public drains - notify Southern Water if flooding affects your mains sewage/public drains
  • gas leak - notify the National Grid to report a gas leak as the result of flooding on 0800 111 999
  • electrical issues - notify Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks of electrical issues such as power cuts by calling 105
  • non-emergency calls about vulnerable older people -  call Adult Services on 01983 823340 or 01983 821105 outside of office hours
  • non-urgent health concerns - call NHS 111 for 
  • Floodline - the Environment Agency also provides help on flooding issues via telephone service on 0345 988 1188

More useful contacts and information:



It is not our responsibility to protect individual homes or businesses. You must take responsibility for your own property. In some emergency situations, we will instruct Island Roads to position stocks of sandbags at the following locations:

  • Well Road, East Cowes
  • Simeon Street Recreation Ground, Ryde
  • St Mary's Car Park, Cowes

Additional sandbag locations may be identified based upon the forecast impacts of flooding and in areas where the Environment Agency has advised that there is a potential risk of flooding. Please keep a watch on Isle of Wight Facebook / our news pages for additional locations.

Unused sandbags

Wherever possible, store full bags that have not come into contact with floodwater in a dry shady place to use again if you need them in the future.

Sacking material is normally biodegradable and will perish if left in place for a long time. It is therefore advisable to empty sacks and keep them dry for re-use. Store the sand in your garden, or yard for future use. If you do not want to store the sand or the bags, once empty the bags can be placed in your normal household waste and the sand dug into the garden, if you have one, or taken to the household waste recycling centre.

Disposing of used sandbags

Advice for residents

Sandbags tend to retain contaminants such as sewage and oils when they come into contact with floodwater. Ensure you wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling. If sandbags are contaminated by floodwater you should take them to your local household waste recycling centre and inform the staff that they have been contaminated.

Where this is not possible you should seek advice from us on 01983 823111 to find out if other options are available to dispose of the sandbags. Do not place full sandbags or the sand in you household waste. Do not allow children to play with the sand or place it in sand pits due to the risks from possible contamination.

If in doubt, contact the council’s environmental health department on 01983 823000 for advice.

Used sandbags are not classified as contaminated if:

  • used to retain surface water / ground water, which has had no or short term and limited exposure to sewage
  • do not smell of sewage or oil
  • shows no visual signs of being contaminated by sewage or oil

Used sandbags are classified as contaminated if:

  • used to retain raw sewage
  • used to protect / retain sources of oil
  • used to retain surface water / ground water, which has had continual exposure to sewage or oils
  • smells of sewage or oil
  • shows visual signs of being contaminated by sewage or oil

If there has been widespread flooding and large quantities of sandbags have been deployed, we may arrange for the collection of used sandbags from specific collection points. If this is the case, we will provide details on where and when collections will be undertaken.

Advice for businesses

Businesses need to book a trade waste collection for used sandbags.

Public Health advice related to flooding

Flooding can cause a range of health problems. There may be physical injury, or increased risk of skin or gut infections through contact with contaminated food and water. Long-term effects could include mental health problems and chest problems due to exposure to mould and damp.

In the event of a flood:

  • to avoid contact with the flood water
  • do not drive through flood water
  • do not let children play in it
  • take care of hidden dangers if you must go through flood water. These could be sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution.

After a flood

Following a flood event you need to clean and dry your home or property. This is to ensure and check for any health harms as a result of the flood. Floodwater can contain harmful pollutants or contaminants hazardous to humans and animals.

To avoid exposure to floodwater when you clean, use:

  • rubber boots
  • protective overalls or waterproof apron
  • eye goggles
  • waterproof gloves

To stay safe and well remember:

  • do not eat any food that has been in contact with floodwater or sewage as it may not be safe to eat.
  • do not to turn on gas or electricals if they may have become wet - only turn them on once they have been checked by a qualified technician
  • use warm, clean water and soap, then rinse and dry your hands after being in contact with floodwater, sewage or with items that have been in the water
  • use cold water to wash if warm is not available
  • if there is no clean water, use disposable wet wipes or sanitising gel to clean all parts of your hands and dry them
  • keep open cuts or sores clean and use waterproof plasters to prevent infection from floodwater
  • do not use petrol or diesel generators indoors to dry out your home - exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which can kill
  • as your home dries out, any mould should disappear - if it doesn't, contact a specialist cleaner
  • Start clean-up efforts within your home when you feel ready
  • don’t overdo it during the clean-up and recovery process
  • anxiety, stress, tiredness and difficulty sleeping are normal in these circumstances
  • make time to talk to someone you trust
  • your friends and family are there to support you - support each other to get better
  • check on elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbours

If you are worried about your own or others’ mental health, or your distress continues over an extended period of time, visit your GP or call NHS 111. They can help to find more sources of support, or you could try:

More advice


Residents should speak with their insurers to see if they will cover waste disposal costs for a private waste carrier and should always should ensure their insurance are happy for them to start clearing the property. Where possible, residents should use Household Waste Recycling Centre’s (free for householders to take their waste)  or the Bulky Waste (£40 for up to 4 items). 

In respect of uninsured persons, we will review requests for assistance on a case by case basis to ensure those who are vulnerable and in financial hardship are provided assistance. 

Replacement Bins

Many properties will have lost bins in the floods – in these circumstances free black bins can be made available as well as usual recycling receptacles.