As severe weather conditions look set to continue well into January, we thought it would be timely to put up the following advice for those affected by flooding.
The areas most affected have been north Wales, northern England, the Borders and southern Scotland, but flash floods could hit anywhere given the excess of rain forecast over the coming days. Only the south east corner of England looks set to avoid any major disruption.
At the time of writing there ae over 30 severe flood warnings in place. Please remember that these mean "danger to life". Additionally, there are over 200 flood warnings.
Many sports grounds and golf courses will be affected, which will cause damage to both property and the playing surfaces. Once the water subsides, there will be a big cleaning up effort required to remove storm debris, repair and replace furnishings and damaged equipment and machinery.
The extent of the damage will be dependent on the depth of the floodwater and how long it has prevailed. You will need to be mindful that, in some cases, you may be dealing with effluent and sewage waste material that may have been brought in by the flooding. If that's the case, you will need to consult your local authority and/or Environment Agency for advice or help to clear this debris.
If you have a lot of surface material on your ground, it may pay to get it analysed to ascertain its properties and make-up; this will help you understand what you are dealing with. Take some samples and send them to a soil lab for analysis.
Once the water begins to subside, take the opportunity to disperse any residual silts by dragmatting whilst the water is still on the ground, allowing it to disperse off site. Any remaining debris will need to be removed by brushing, sweeping or vacuuming.
You do not want to allow a layer of silt to compromise your rootzone; there are various ways to remove, dilute or integrate this material into your soil profile. This can be achieved by brushing, scarifying or using aeration equipment over the course of the year.
You should have notified your insurance company as soon as the floods took hold, keeping records of dates and times and recording any damage being caused. Ideally, you should have taken plenty of pictures of your facility whilst in flood and, possibly, recorded the depth of the water. Once the floodwater has gone, you need to take more pictures of any damage caused by the floods. These will help in your claim for compensation.
As with most situations, you always learn from your experiences, and there is much you can do to help reduce the risk of flood damage and mitigate its impact when it occurs. Sport England, working with a number of national governing bodies for sport (The FA, RFU, RFL, ECB, LTA and EHB), has produced a set of information sheets and a downloadable template for clubs and facility managers to help them find out whether their facilities are at risk of flooding and, if so, how to develop a flood plan and other strategies that will help reduce the impact of flooding. The guidance documents include: see link
• How to plan ahead - What to do to minimise the impact of future flooding of sports facilities
• Developing a club flood plan - Making sure everyone knows what to do in a flood
• A flood plan template
• Flood resilient design - How to make sports facilities more resilient to flooding
• What to do to minimise the impact of flooding following a flood alert / flood warning
• After the flood (Buildings) - How to recover from a flood safely and quickly
• After the flood (Pitches and courts) - How to recover from a flood safely and quickly
• The ECB has also produced flood relief case studies which can be viewed on their website. ECB web page for flood advice :- http://www.ecb.co.uk/development/facilities-funding/flood-relief-and-advice/
What to do to minimise the impact of future flooding of your sports facilities
Issues to consider
• Finding out if your facility is at risk of flooding is easy to do and will help you to begin the flood planning process. One in four sports clubs are at risk of flooding so it is essential that you find out.
• Localised flooding often occurs because of poorly maintained ditches and culverts. By conducting regular maintenance of your drainage system, and working with local landowners and local authorities to ensure they do the same, you can help reduce the risk of localised flooding.
• Planning ahead enables you to decide what to do before a flood. This will help you to limit damage, as well as the cost of flooding, and allow the sports facilities to be back in use as quickly as possible.
1. Identify if your ground is at risk of flooding
Flooding from rivers or the sea
Visit the Environment Agency website and view their flood map:
Other potential sources of flooding such as culverts and ditches
Local knowledge is invaluable - speak to your local council and some of the older members of your clubs as they will have a historical perspective of flooding on and around your ground.
2. Ensure regular inspection and maintenance is carried out to drainage courses
For ditches and culverts immediately adjacent to your ground, do simple but regular visual inspections to ensure that there is no debris or potential blockages that will restrict the flow of water. Do not put anyone at risk whilst doing these inspections. If you are in any doubt, seek advice from an experienced person such as a local farmer or drainage consultant.
For ditches and culverts that are close to your site, you will need to identify who is responsible for maintaining these and work with them to ensure that they are regularly inspected and maintained.
3. Sign up for Flood Alerts
So that you have as much time as possible, you should sign up for flood alerts from the Environment Agency. You can do this at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/38289.aspx
4. Develop a club flood plan and test it
So that you and everyone else at your club know what to do when a flood is imminent, you should develop a club flood plan and then test it.
All key personnel should have a copy of the plan and you should also put a copy on the club noticeboard and website so that the whole club can be aware that a flood plan is in place. For further advice on developing a flood plan see Sport England's Flood Information Sheet 2 'Developing a club flood plan'.
5. Make sure you are adequately insured
Speak to your insurers about flood insurance and ensure that you understand what cover you have and what your responsibilities are.
The insurers will expect you to take all reasonable steps to reduce the impact of any flood and, in addition, they will have specific requirements for the club to meet should a flood occur. Some clubs may benefit from the advice and support of a specialist broker. Your governing body may be able to help you with the name of a local broker who is supporting other sport clubs in the area.
6. Adopt a 'Flood Resilient' Design Approach to building work and new sport facilities
Whilst it is impossible to completely flood-proof your building or sports facilities, there are many things you can do to minimise damage and get the sports facilities back in use as quickly as possible. For more information see Sport England's Information Sheet 3 'Flooding : Flood Resilient Design'
7. At the end of the season move expensive equipment out of the way of any flood
This includes vulnerable electrical equipment in the clubhouse, as well as expensive/critical grounds maintenance equipment that would be affected by any flood.
Further help and information
Further help and advice can be found on various flood information sheets produced by Sport England and the governing bodies of sport. These include Developing a club flood plan - Making sure everyone knows what to do in a flood; Flood resilient design - How to make sports facilities more resilient to flooding; Flood alert/warning received - What to do to minimise the impact of flooding following a flood alert/flood warning; After the flood - buildings - How to recover from a flood safely and quickly; and After the flood - pitches and courts - How to recover from a flood safely and quickly.
Seek professional advice
We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice from a building surveyor, architect or other independent professional if you are considering flood protection and/or recovery solutions for your property and facilities.
There is no formal assurance scheme for flood surveyors, but the following professional institutions hold lists of members who have undergone internal vetting and adhere to a common code of conduct:
• Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) http://www.rics.org/uk/
• Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) https://www.architecture.com/Explore/Home.aspx
Check with your local Environment Agency office if you plan to take measures which could affect the flow of a river or divert flood water to other properties. Call them on 03708 506 506 and ask to speak to someone in the Partnerships and Strategic Overview team in your local area.
This guidance is taken from one of a series of information sheets that have been developed by Sport England, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Football Association, the Rugby Football League, the Rugby Football Union, The Lawn Tennis Association and England Hockey to provide simple advice to voluntary clubs on minimising the impact of flooding on their sports facilities and to enable them to plan and act safely and effectively.
They are not intended to replace experienced expert advisors from the local authority, Environment Agency or specialist consultant.
Much of the above information is relevant to readers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For any region specific information, please visit one of the following websites -
Welsh Government www.wales.gov.uk
Scottish Environment Protection Agency www.sepa.org.uk
Northern Ireland Assembly www.niassembly.gov.uk
National Governing Bodies Main Offices:
England and Wales Cricket Board
020 7432 1200 020 7432 1200 www.ecb.co.uk
England Hockey Board
01628 897500 01628 897500 www.englandhockey.co.uk
Lawn Tennis Association
020 8487 7000 020 8487 7000 www.lta.org.uk
Rugby Football League
0844 477 7113 0844 477 7113 www.therfl.co.uk
Rugby Football Union
0871 222 2120 0871 222 2120 www.rfu.com
Scottish Rugby Union
0131 346 5000 0131 346 5000 www.scottishrugby.org
Welsh Rugby Union
08442 491 999 08442 491 999 www.wru.co.uk
The Football Association
0844 980 8200 0844 980 8200 www.thefa.com
Scottish Football Association
0141 616 6000 0141 616 6000 www.scottishfa.co.uk
Football Association of Wales
029 2043 5830 029 2043 5830 www.faw.org.uk
Guidelines for flooded turf
1. Firstly, consider the Health and Safety Aspects. Most floodwater is contaminated to some degree. If floodwater has been contaminated then there are health concerns in handling affected soil and turf. Take advice from the relevant agencies and get the deposits tested for any potential Health and Safety risks. You need to know what you are dealing with to be able protect yourself and your staff properly. You will also need to ensure that anyone who may come into contact with the site is aware of any potential risks (e.g. signage).
2. The turf. Firstly don't despair. As long as the turf isn't submerged under stagnant water for a prolonged period then it should recover.
3. If there has been significant flooding then some assessment of the effect on growing conditions is required. The following strategy should be adopted:-
(a) Take a representative sample of the deposit and upper soil profile(keep separate if possible). Take soil cores to a minimum depth of 25mm obtaining 0.5kg soil. Ensure appropriate protective clothing is worn and the samples are sealed correctly.
(b) The following soil analyses should be carried out:-
Growth test: Provides a general indication if anything toxic present.
Salinity test: Any soluble salts present will affect plant growth, but can be quickly washed out with fresh water.
If there is likely to have been any industrial contamination:-
Heavy metal test: High concentration of elements such as copper and nickel could have long term effects on growth.
A visual examination should be made to assess the accumulation and implications of any surface silt.
(c) If the tests are clear then overseeding can be carried out.
(d) If contamination is present then it may be necessary to take remedial action on the growing medium. This may include scraping of thick deposits, power jetting of thinner deposits and scarification or brushing of dry deposits. Take all necessary safety precautions and be sure to dispose of contaminated waste appropriately.
Our thoughts are with all those affected.