Flood Support

Flooding and sandbags adviceSandbags placed in front of a house door.

We believe that everyone, both householders and business, owners should take precautions to protect their own property.

Sand and sandbags are available at most builders merchants and larger DIY stores across the Ashford Borough.

If you do require further information on how to source sandbags, please contact us on 01233 331111.

Traditionally, sandbags have been used to block doorways, drains and other openings into properties as well as to weigh down manhole covers, garden furniture and to block sink, toilet and bath drains to prevent water backing up.

They are not waterproof and will not keep water out indefinitely.

However, sandbags can be useful in diverting shallow flowing water that has somewhere else to go, or deflecting waves caused in shallow water by passing vehicles.

Does the council issue sandbags?

We will only issue sandbags during a flooding emergency to vulnerable residents that are unable to source them for themselves at that time. If vulnerable residents are affected, we will attempt to deliver and place sandbags, following an assessment of the situation from us. However, we can not guarantee that it will be in sufficient time or in sufficient quantity to prevent or reduce damage to property.

We cannot accept any liability, whatever the circumstances for failure to supply sandbags or for their late delivery. Sandbags will not be collected after the event and householders will be advised to keep them for future use. We do not supply bags to protect garages, garden sheds, outbuildings or gardens.

Storage and handling of sandbags

For advice on how to use sandbags to prepare for a flood, the Environment Agency (EA) has produced a step-by-step guide to help you:

Check out the Environment Agency's advice on 'Sandbags and how to use them properly for flood protection'.

Sandbags will disintegrate with exposure to the weather so they are not recommended for use for long periods of time. They can be stored in a dry place to use again in the near future, as more than one flooding incident can occur in quick succession.

Wherever possible, store dry sandbags as wet bags will decay quicker. If you are unable to store full sandbags, please empty the dry bags and store the pile of sand in a dry place, keeping the bags so that they can be re-filled.

If your sandbags have come into contact with flood water contaminated with sewage, please double wrap them (bin liners can be used), ensuring that you protect yourself by wearing suitable gloves. Once the sandbags are wrapped they can then be taken to your nearest household waste recycling centre for disposal. Wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water afterwards.

The nearest waste and recycling centre for Ashford is:

Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate
Brunswick Road
Kent TN23 1EL

Telephone: 03000 41 73 73

For further information on this site including opening hours, please visit Kent County Council's website.

If you are not storing sandbags for future use and they are not contaminated with sewage, the sandbags can be split open, the sand dug into your garden and empty sandbags put in your green bin for recycling.

Please DO NOT place full sandbags or sand in your bin for collection and DO NOT allow any sand to be washed into drains as this will block them.

N.B. Never allow children to play with the sand from sandbags, or place it in sand pits. The type of sand used in sandbags is not suitable for this purpose, and it may also be contaminated.

Visit the Environment Agency website for further information on flooding prevention.

How we can support you during a flood

  • During an emergency, we will work with Kent County Council, Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service & the Environment Agency to co-ordinate the response for severe flooding
  • We will set up Rest Centres for people who are evacuated and unable to stay with family and friends. A Rest Centre is a temporary shelter for those who are evacuated where we will provide basic care and welfare support as well as information and advice
  • We will also arrange temporary housing for anyone that is unable to return home
  • We will do our best in the circumstances to mount a reasonable flood defence response, including making sandbags available at locations of highest risk


If a decision to evacuate is made, the Police will lead with assistance from other agencies by door knocking at each property.

Decisions to evacuate are not taken lightly and are based on information relating to public safety and expected conditions on the ground. The preference will always be to evacuate when it is safest to do so. This may be before water has actually reached or entered your property but when expectations are for it to do so.

If you refuse to evacuate when notified and then change your mind later, you may potentially put yourself, your family and your rescuers at risk. This may mean that increased costs are incurred due to additional equipment or manpower being needed.

If you decide to stay in an area evacuated due to flooding, it may not be possible for assistance such as food, drinking water and medical supplies to reach you. You should also bear in mind that there may be no way to flush toilets or get rid of waste.

Animal welfare in severe weather

The RSPCA has issued advice on what to do in flooding and storms to keep your pets and livestock safe.

Remember, never put your own life in danger to attempt an animal rescue. If you're concerned about an animal in stormy weather or flooding please take a note of the location and time, and call the RSPCA emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999 for advice. 

For full advice and details, including how to make a flood escape plan, please visit the RSPCA website.

Contact us

If you have any queries or require further information on this webpage, please contact Emergency Planning via 01233 331111 or email emergency.planning@ashford.gov.uk