Most local authorities in the UK won’t provide sandbags and many now say they aren’t even effective at keeping floodwater out.
Many advise people to use specially designed flood protection products and one of the most widely used now are FloodSax (www.floodsax.co.uk) alternative sandbags.
Rossendale Council is among a number of councils that don’t pull their punches when criticising sandbags.
Its website states: “Sandbags are relatively ineffective when compared to purpose-designed flood protection products. As a result, we strongly encourage people to use purpose-made flood protection products.
“Sandbags are cheap but they have disadvantages. During an emergency sufficient quantities may be difficult to obtain, they are time-consuming to lay properly and can be difficult to handle, particularly for the elderly or infirm. The sacking material is biodegradable and will disintegrate if left in place for long periods of time.”
Rossendale Council, along with many other councils, urges people to look at the Blue Pages (http://bluepages.org.uk/), an independent online directory of flood protection products run by anti-flood charity the National Flood Forum.
The Environment Agency, which features FloodSax in its illustration on how best to protect a property against flooding, adds: “The Blue Pages is an independent directory of products, builders, suppliers and insurers. It’s designed to provide information on all aspects of flood protection and resilience products.”
Other councils making it clear that people must sort out their own flood protection include Bury Council which states: “There is no statutory requirement for a local authority to provide sandbags or to prevent a property from flooding. Residents and business owners are responsible for protecting their own property.”
The council is also no fan of traditional sandbags, adding: “We do not keep a stock of sandbags for residents because the number required would be too great. Also, sandbags are relatively ineffective because they seep water even when well-stacked and trodden into place.”
Norfolk County Council has the same advice: “Most Norfolk councils no longer supply sandbags as they are not fully effective and are not the best form of flood protection.”
Surrey County Council says: “There is no statutory requirement for us to provide sandbags or prevent a property from flooding. Residents and business owners are responsible for protecting their properties and should make plans in advance of a flood.”
Several councils now use FloodSax instead of sandbags and even make them available when flooding is imminent.
The Forest of Dean District Council based at Coleford in Gloucestershire stocked up with hundreds of FloodSax after the area was badly hit by flooding just before Christmas 2020.
Several other councils such as Gosport Borough Council in Hampshire, Derbyshire County Council and Solihull Council in the West Midlands use FloodSax and to read more go to http://www.floodsax.co.uk/news/why-these-councils-rely-on-floodsax-sandless-sandbags-to-stop-horrendous-damage-during-flooding-emergencies/
Unlike sandbags, FloodSax are multi-use and multi-purpose. They are incredibly space-saving to store as they are vacuum-packed and in their dry state are ultra-flat with a large surface area which makes them ideal to soak up drips, leaks and spills indoors, especially in hard-to-reach places such as beneath boilers, below radiators and underneath pipes.
But immerse them in water and the gelling polymer inside soaks up the water and then retains it, making the FloodSax miraculously inflate to become an instant sandbag but without any sand.
FloodSax were devised by Yorkshire-based Environmental Defence Systems Ltd and around 3 million have now been sold worldwide.