Terrible flooding in the village of Fishlake near Doncaster Terrible flooding in the village of Fishlake near Doncaster

The terrible flooding in parts of South Yorkshire and the midlands has graphically shown up something councils have long been saying … they have no responsibility to provide sandbags.

Homeowners and businesses still believe their council will come rushing to help if flooding is imminent but that’s simply not the case. It means people are not prepared and end up feeling bad let down.

York has long suffered from severe flooding and City of York Council’s sand bag policy states: “It's not the responsibility of the local authority to provide sandbags for use by individual occupiers of residential or commercial premises.

“It's the responsibility of every property occupier or owner to protect their property against floodwater wherever it comes from - for example, rivers, flash flooding caused by excess rain, etc.”

“Sandbags are not the only, or even necessarily the best, protection against floodwater. There are numerous other products on the market which can offer protection from flooding.”

Guidance from Adur and Worthing Council in West Sussex says: “The Environment Agency now says that anti-flood devices Like FloodSax are the way forward for people to protect their home. On its website it warns people to prepare beforehand as they just won’t have enough time to react to flooding emergencies.

“In its online illustration of a house the Agency states: ‘Flood sacks are a lighter, modern version of sandbags.’ The Environment Agency says sandbags have many pitfalls and people should look to other products specifically designed to be fit for purpose when flooding strikes. In a scathing report on sandbags, the Agency states: ‘Sandbags are relatively ineffective when compared to purpose-built flood protection products. We strongly encourage people to use these products.’”

The best place to look for anti-flood devices is on a website run by the charity the National Flood Forum. There it has a list of products in a directory known as Blue Pages http://www.bluepages.org.uk/