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Drainage and flooding on the highway


Floods can occur during prolonged rainfall and after flash storms. The Environment Agency issues warnings when river and tide conditions are such that there is a risk of flooding. 

Cornwall Fire and Rescue service provide detailed information on preparing for and dealing with flooding of properties.

Report flooding on the highway

For all non-urgent problems, such as blocked gullies and drains, small areas of standing water or water flowing onto the highway from adjoining land please contact us using the button below.

Report flooding on the highway

To report urgent problems where there are large areas of standing water or the road is impassable and is causing a safety hazard or water from the highway is flooding adjacent property, please telephone 0300 1234 222 (24 hour service) giving details of the location. In extreme weather conditions with heavy rainfall, work will be prioritised according to severity and availability of resource.  

Please note pipes and features carrying sewage are the responsibility of the water authority and problems should be reported direct to them on 0344 346 2020. Calls to this number are free from landline phones, however mobile charges may apply.

Highway Drainage Maintenance

Cormac looks after the county’s highway drainage systems, on behalf of Cornwall Council.

Highway drainage systems are designed to:

  • Remove highway surface water from the road to maintain road safety, minimise nuisance and prevent damage to the structural integrity of the highway
  • Minimise the impact of highway surface water on the surrounding environment

Highway drainage systems are not designed to:

  • Remove surface water from adjacent land or properties
  • Provide an overflow system for land drains, watercourses, rivers or sewers

Planned highway drainage maintenance is undertaken in accordance to the Highway Maintenance Manual and takes the form of regular scheduled visits to empty gullies, clear ditches and maintain grips and bolt-holes. Frequency of cleansing is determined by the roads’ strategic importance. We also maintain other drainage assets including culverts, soak-away systems, ponds and leats that form part of the highways drainage network.


When a flood emergency is declared, Cornwall Council will deal with the situation in line with its emergency management protocols.

Although we do not have a statutory duty to provide sandbags, in response to flooding emergencies we do hold a limited stock. We will not generally supply sandbags in advance based on forecasts to avoid depleting stocks if we distribute too soon. Requests from the public for support is considered and prioritised on a case-by-case basis. In the event of an emergency the Council will not have the resource to distribute sandbags on mass.

How you can help

We ask residents to identify where you can purchase sandbags, for example from your local builders merchants, and consider having a ready supply for your property to divert water from vulnerable locations such as entrances and garage doors.  Visit the Environment Agency website which promotes self-help schemes and provides useful guidance on the proper use and placement of sandbags to maximise protection.

Please note, irrespective of who supplied sandbags, the disposal of any used sandbags becomes the responsibility of the homeowner. Care should be taken to avoid blocking drains etc. and gloves should be worn in case of contact with contaminated water.