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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 tidal conditions may cause flooding. 

Cornwall Fire and Rescue service supply information on the flooding of property.

How to report flooding on the highway

For small areas of standing water or water flowing onto the highway from neighbouring land please contact us using the button below.

Report flooding on the highway

Please telephone our 24 hour service on 0300 1234 222 if you come across a safety isue on the highway. Please give details of the location.  We prioritse our work during extreme weather severity, risk and availability of resource. 

Please report issues with sewage direct to the water authority on 0344 346 2020. Calls to this number are free from landline phones, mobile charges may apply.

Highway Drainage Maintenance

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

The design of highway drainage systems is to:

  • Manage surface water on the highway. This improves safety, minimises nuisance and prevents damage to 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
  • Be a flood defence

We maintain our highway drainage in line with our agreed levels of service. These levels os service are in our Highway Maintenance Manual. We carry out regular inspections, empty gullies, clear ditches, maintain grips and bolt-holes. The highways strategic importance determines the frequency of cleansing and other treatment.


We will follow our emergency management protocols should a flood emergency be declared.

We do not have a statutory duty to provide sandbags. In the event of an emergency we will not have the resource to distribute sandbags on mass.  But requests from the public for support are considered on a case-by-case basis. We do not supply sandbags in advance based on weather forecasts. This is to avoid depleting stocks if we distribute too soon. 

The Environment Agency website promotes self-help schemes. They provide useful guidance on the proper placement of sandbags to maximise protection. You can buy sandbags from your local builders merchants. It is recommended that you keep a supply to protect vulnerable areas of your property. 

You should be careful when disposing used sandbags so they do not block drains of other features. You are responsible for disposing used sandbags regardless of who supplied them. In case of contact with contaminated water please wear gloves.