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Sandbags for flood defence

Those residents living in a known area/property liable to flood should take their own more permanent precautions to protect their property from flooding.

The Council do not routinely provide a sandbag delivery service but may provide sandbags for collection from strategic locations.

Traditional sandbag suppliers

Most local builders merchants supply sandbags and sand. Residents are advised to take action before flooding is forecast as stock levels in builder's merchants can be quickly depleted once flood warnings have been issued.

Local sandbag suppliers can be found by contacting builder's merchants directly. Telephone numbers can be found in the Yellow Pages or other listing agent.

Please note: Sandbags, although effective against short duration flood events or wash from vehicles travelling through floodwater, are not effective against longer duration flood events. Water will naturally make its way through the sandbag and hence more permanent kitemarked flood protection products should be considered if your property is at risk of flooding. Use of plastic sheeting placed behind sandbags will improve the efficiency of them.

Modern sand less sandbag alternatives

A modern type of sandbag is now available which does not contain sand.

Sand less sandbags work by using super absorbent polymer technology to provide an alternative to traditional sandbags. Super absorbent polymers are similar to those used in babies nappies. They work by absorbing liquids in large quantities, far in excess of the volume of the dry polymer. They can absorb over 200 times their own weight in water.

Several companies offer this type of modern sandbag and can be found on the internet via most search engines.

Guidance on sandbag use

  • it is essential to fill and lay sandbags correctly
  • do not over fill them (no more than half to three-quarters full)
  • when laid, stamp them down well to force the upper bags to mould themselves to the lower bags
  • build up the layers like brickwork with the bottom row butted up tight to each other, end to end, well stamped down before laying the second row on top
  • if the wall is more than two sandbags high, use a double line of bags for the first two layers and a single line on top

If you can't get ready-made sandbags you can make your own using compost bags, carrier bags or pillowcases filled with sand or earth. Put a plastic sheet down first to act as an extra seal.

When not in use sandbags should be covered and stored in a dark place.

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