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Flood Risk Management

Responding to, and protecting against, flooding

The management of flood risk is shared by a number of risk management authorities in West Berkshire, each with different responsibilities, powers and duties.

West Berkshire Council is the lead local authority for West Berkshire. The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 gives lead local authorities powers and duties for local flooding and flood risk management.

These powers and duties include:

  • a duty to investigate flooding
  • a duty to produce and maintain a Icon for pdf Local Flood Risk Management Strategy [12MB]
  • a duty to maintain a register of significant flood defence structures and features
  • powers to regulate ordinary watercourses
  • a role to promote sustainable drainage

We are also a Category 1 Responder under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and are responsible for preparing emergency plans that detail how we will respond to a major flood incident. You can read more about how we plan for emergencies online.


As a Highway Authority, we also have a responsibility for providing and maintaining highway drainage under the Highways Act 1980.

You can report flooding on the road online if it is located within our district boundary.

If the flooding is on the M4 or A34, please contact National Highways on 0300 123 5000. You can also report an issue on the National Highways website.


You can download the Icon for pdf Ditches Explained [727KB]  leaflet that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of riparian land owners for maintaining roadside ditches.



Thames Water are responsible for public sewer systems, including managing the risk of sewer flooding, whether from clean water or foul water systems.


The Environment Agency is responsible for managing main rivers, and provides flood warnings and response to any incident from the main rivers in West Berkshire. (In addition to the River Thames, there are the Rivers Lambourn, Kennet, Pang, Winterbourne, Enbourne, and the Kennet and Avon Canal.)

Winter Floods 2014

From December 2013 to March 2014 West Berkshire, like many other parts of the county, experienced an unprecedented period of wet weather. This resulted in significant flooding in many parts of the district from different sources including, rivers, groundwater and public sewers. At least 181 homes and businesses were flooded and the rain caused widespread disruption to parts of the highway network.

You can find resources and advice on our Flooding page

You can download the Icon for pdf Winter Floods 2014 Flood Investigation Reports [1MB]  and accompanying Icon for pdf Winter Floods 2014 Flood Investigation Report Plans [102MB]  for the affected Parishes.

Winter Floods and Storms Debriefs

A lot of work was done to find out why the 2013/14 flooding happened and what can be done to tackle it differently in the future. 

comprehensive flooding debrief report was completed, including results of surveys of residents, agencies and responders. It provides the background information to the floods and the actions taken as a result.

The report also made recommendations for investigations to improve response and recovery which have since been enacted.

September Flooding 2016

On 15 and 16 September 2016, a high-intensity storm caused surface water flooding in the Newbury area.  The flooding affected residential and commercial properties, Newbury railway station and many parts of the highway network around the Newbury area.

You can download the Icon for pdf September 2016 Flood Investigtion Report [1MB]  and accompanying Icon for pdf September 2016 Flood Investigation Plans [4MB] for this incident.

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