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Obtaining sandbags

The Council does not provide sandbags for general issue to householders or businesses but sand and hessian or polypropylene bags can be bought from most builders' merchants. Some also sell ready-filled bags but these will rot in storage and can become unusable. Filled polypropylene bags will last longer in storage than hessian ones.

As an alternative the National Flood Forum's Blue Pages Directory lists suppliers of proprietary flood bags that don't use sand and can be stored for long periods. Advice to the public from the Environment Agency and Defra is to use purpose made flood protection products rather than sandbags.

Using sandbags

Sandbags can be used to divert flowing water away from buildings and will keep out standing water for a short period of time if they are well stacked and compacted, but they are not effective against rising groundwater. Sandbags can be difficult to handle and place properly, particularly in running water, and will trap contaminants such as sewage and oil.

For sandbags to provide full benefit it is vital they are used correctly. The Environment Agency has a guide called Sandbags and how to use them properly for flood protection which gives advice on how to build a sandbag wall and other ways to keep flood water out of your property.

Sandbags are not the only form of temporary flood protection. Growbags or bin liners, plastic bags and even pillow cases filled with earth or shingle will work just as well, particularly if you put a sheet of heavy-duty plastic between the bags and the wall.

Updated: 16 Mar 2016
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