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Flooding of farms and agricultural land

Here is some practical advice on steps you can take to reduce the impact of a flood on your farm

Do you know if your farm is at risk of flooding?

Over one tenth of land in England and Wales is at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. As a farm, your land may be at risk of flooding even if your house is not.

Find out if your land is at risk of flooding by calling Floodline on 0345 988 111 or visiting 

If you are at risk of flooding, you may be able to sign up to receive free flood warnings direct to your landline or mobile. You can register up to five contact numbers to receive a warning, so family or staff could also be alerted during a flood emergency. Flood warnings are usually issued up to 2 hours prior to a flood, giving you enough time to take simple actions such as moving livestock or farm machinery to higher ground to ensure their safety.

Prepare your farm for flooding

There are lots of small, simple steps you can take to both prepare your farm for flooding and reduce the impact of a flood on your farm.

For example, have you thought about creating a farm flood plan? A flood plan is a document containing all the important information you would need, and actions you would take during a flood.

Once completed, your flood plan should be shared with all staff so they are familiar with it, and then stored somewhere safe and easily accessible during a flood.

Your local flood awareness officer will be able to provide you with a farm flood plan template for you to complete.

Top tips for farmers to consider in a farm flood plan

  • Identify fields at higher ground where livestock can be moved to safety
  • Identify stock/machinery/tools that can easily be moved off the farm to prevent loss or damage
  • Identify any chemicals/fuels on the farm that could contaminate flood water and think about how they could be moved to safety during a flood
  • Consider how you will inform staff about an impending flood, and how staff may be able to help you prepare
  • Draw up a contingency plan with suppliers to ensure business continuity to reduce loss of earnings
  • Consider purchasing a stockpile of useful materials that can be used during a flood, ie sandbags to prevent water entering barns/sheds, plywood to board up windows and pallets to raise stock/equipment above flood water level

Top tips for farmers to reduce likelihood of flooding on farm

  • Consider creating run off ponds, or sediment traps on the farm to reduce the likelihood of flooding
  • Avoid directing run off towards roads and watercourses
  • Discharge roof water into swales and/or soakaways around the farm, to slow water down and recharge groundwater
  • Loosen soil to leave a rough surface after harvesting to allow more water to soak in rather than run off land
  • Remove stock when soils are wet in high-risk fields
  • Use low-ground-pressure tyres to reduce soil compaction

Prepare your home for flooding

For many people, their farm is not just their livelihood, but their home as well. If your farm lies within a flood risk area, you will therefore need to think about protecting your home as well as your business.

If you live on your farm, you will need to include information about protecting your home in your farm flood plan. 

Have you also thought about preparing an emergency flood kit containing all the items you would need to have with you in case you need to evacuate?

Your flood kit should contain items such as copies of insurance documents, a wind up torch, radio, warm waterproof clothing, food, bottled water and any medication you need.

Top tips on protecting your home during a flood

  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies
  • Phone Floodline (0345 988 1188) for the latest information for your area
  • Move valuable and sentimental items or easily moved items of furniture upstairs to safety
  • To stop flood water entering your home; put plugs in sinks and weigh down with heavy objects; plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths and disconnect any equipment that uses water, ie washing machine, to avoid a surge
  • Locate your flood kit and prepare to move your family upstairs to a safe place with a means of escape
  • Try to avoid contact with flood water where possible as it may be contaminated

Do not leave your home or enter floodwater unless directly instructed to do so by the emergency services. Flood water can be extremely dangerous and can hide hazards.

More information

For more information about protecting your farm from flooding, signing up to receive the flood warning service or to obtain a copy of a flood plan, please contact us:

T: 0300 065 3000


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