Who is responsible?

Find out who is responsible for what when it comes to flooding

There is no single organisation responsible for all flooding across Northamptonshire. Instead it’s a group approach with different organisations and landowners managing different types of flooding.

The table below shows exactly who is responsible for what in Northamptonshire, as well as useful contact details and when you may need to contact them.

Responsibilities for Urban Drainage.

Responsibilities for Rural Drainage

Roles and Responsibilities

Riparian Owners

Riparian owners are responsible for maintaining the watercourse or ditch running through or adjacent to their land as well as the vegetation on the banks, in order to keep these clear and prevent flooding. Riparian owners can face legal action if the lack of maintenance of their watercourse causes flooding. For more information about responsibilities, read our Riparian Ownership and Flood Risk guide.

Land ownership is sometimes unknown, disputed or difficult to work out. To find out who owns certain parcels of land (and therefore whether or not they have a riparian responsibility), obtain copies of title registers and title plans use the online Land Registry services.

Town and Parish Councils/Communities

Town and Parish Councils as well as Communities both play an important role in managing flood risk at the community level. They can help gather information on areas at risk of flooding by reporting any flood incidents.
Communities and individuals at risk of flooding should prepare Community and Household Flood Plans. Residents can also get involved with the community and local councils by becoming a Flood Warden. In addition Communities and Parish or Town Councils can be crucial in raising additional funding for local flood defence measures and for undertaking regular maintenance.

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is responsible for flood risk management activities on main rivers across Northamptonshire, for regulating reservoir safety, and providing river flood warnings. They have the power to undertake work on main rivers to fix a flooding issue, but would charge this cost to the Riparian Owner.

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

Tel: 0345 988 1188 or 0800 80 70 60

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Northamptonshire Highways

Northamptonshire Highways are responsible for fixing drainage and flooding issues on highways and roads across Northamptonshire. This includes blocked drains and gullies on the roads, however they are not normally responsible for ditches alongside roads. In most cases the responsibility is with the adjacent landowner.

Contact Northamptonshire Highways to report flooding on a highway, including blocked drains and gullies on roads.

Tel: 0300 126 1000
(Select Option 4) (8:00am to 6:00pm)
07000 782 112
(out of hours)

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Highways England

Highways England is responsible for drainage of the motorways and some of the A roads (trunk roads) in Northamptonshire. These are the M1, M45, A5, A14, A45 (M1 to A14) and A43 (M1, south of Northampton to Oxfordshire border).

Contact Highways England for flooding issues on the roads listed above.

Tel: 0300 123 5000 (say "Report")

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Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council is responsible for coordinating the management of flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses. However this does not mean that they can or will undertake works to fix a flooding issue, but they can investigate to find out who the Riparian Owner is and therefore who is responsible; and advise on potential solutions. The cost of any works to fix these flooding issues will be charged back to the responsible person or organisation.

Contact Northamptonshire County Council to report surface water, groundwater or ordinary watercourse flooding.

District and Borough Councils

Northamptonshire’s district and borough councils are responsible for reviewing flood risk in planning applications. They have the power to carry out works on ordinary watercourses to fix local flooding issues. The cost of these works would be charged back to the responsible person or organisation.

Contact your District or Borough Council for flood risk issues in planning applications.

Tel: See contact detail link below

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Anglian Water

Northamptonshire water and sewerage companies are responsible for managing the flooding and flood risk from public sewers and water mains across the county. This includes making sure they can maintain essential water supply and sewerage services during a flood. They are also sometimes responsible for removing surface water from your property via the public sewer system for treatment.

Contact Anglian Water for flooding from one of their burst water mains or sewers.

Tel: 03457 145 145
(Select option 1)

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Severn Trent Water

Northamptonshire water and sewerage companies are responsible for managing the flooding and flood risk from public sewers and water mains across the county. This includes making sure they can maintain essential water supply and sewerage services during a flood. They are also sometimes responsible for removing surface water from your property via the public sewer system for treatment.

Contact Severn Trent Water for flooding from one of their burst water mains or sewers.

Tel: 0800 783 4444

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Thames Water Utilities

Northamptonshire water and sewerage companies are responsible for managing the flooding and flood risk from public sewers and water mains across the county. This includes making sure they can maintain essential water supply and sewerage services during a flood. They are also sometimes responsible for removing surface water from your property via the public sewer system for treatment.

Contact Thames Water for flooding from one of their burst water mains or sewers.

Tel: 0800 316 9800 (Select option 2 and then option 2 again)

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Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards

In Northamptonshire there is a very small area covered by an Internal Drainage Board, which is around the Deanshanger and Old Stratford area of South Northamptonshire. The Bedford Group of Drainage Boards is responsible for managing water levels in the watercourses within this area. They also carry out consenting works on all ordinary watercourses across the county on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council.

Contact the Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards if you are planning to carry out any work on an ordinary watercourses, or download the Consent Form.

Tel: 01234 767 995

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