Cllr Sid Phelps and Lynda Skuse, Clerk of Hewelsfield & Brockweir Parish Council with flood defences

District Council helping towns and parishes this autumn with flood preparation

Forest of Dean District Council has secured 680 FloodSax and 62 Hydrosnake emergency flood defences, which will be distributed to at-risk towns and parishes throughout the district, to aid residents should flooding occur.

Following the flooding on Christmas last year, the District Council allocated funding to help boost town and parish council flood defences. The at-risk town and parish councils will be able to hand out the defences to residents in an emergency.

Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Sid Phelps, said,

“We are pleased to be able to help out our at-risk communities by supplying these new defences to the local councils as we head into winter. 

“We have limited powers to help manage flooding but we want to play our part to support the community and we hope that by providing these defences it will support those most at risk.

“We also want to ensure that people know what to do in preparation for flooding, and if it does occur, what to do and who to contact about different issues. For anyone that is unsure, check out our newly updated webpage, which outlines the responsibilities of the various agencies, councils and organisations in the event of flooding.”

District Council’s have limited powers and responsibility in the event of flooding, with the main one being to help provide temporary short term placements in an emergency if people are not able to stay with friends and family or make alternative arrangements. 

Most of the responsibility for responding to flooding, and maintenance to prevent it taking place, sits with other agencies such as the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and the county council.

Since the Christmas floods of 2020 Forest of Dean District Council has been working hard to improve the flooding situation within the powers it holds by advising residents impacted by last year’s flooding on appropriate measures that can be reimbursed up to £5,000 upon installation, alongside providing the Floodsax and Hydrosnakes. The council also provides consultation from its Flood Risk Management Team on large developments and regularly maintains watercourses and ditches owned by the council.

The District Council has a productive relationship working with Gloucestershire County Council which has resulted in flood defence schemes being planned or progressed for at-risk locations within the district.

As part of winter preparations, residents whose homes are at risk of flooding are being encouraged to prepare by creating a plan on how to respond if flooding does occur and also to prepare defenses like sandbags ahead of flooding taking place.

To help with this the District Council has created a website for local people to find out how to prepare, and who to contact for different issues with flooding. People can visit: to find out more information

Contact Information

Forest of Dean Communications Team

Notes to editors

More information on the FloodSax and Hydrosnakes: 


These sandbag alternatives can be stored year round and vacuum-packed to save space. They are also lightweight at 0.2kg, meaning they can be used by people unable to lift sandbags and also easier to transport around the district. FloodSax can be expanded directly where they are needed in just three minutes, moulding into doorways and able to stay in place until the water subsides, absorbing up to 22 litres per bag.


Similar to FloodSax, the Hydrosnakes are lightweight (0.5kg) and easy to store and transport. Each one can absorb up to 20 litres of water, forming a firm barrier against flooding. With each one measuring 1.45m when activated, they are ideal for protecting doorways, paths and gates.