Flood Risk Management


 As a home or business owner, you can significantly reduce the damage and upset caused by taking a few simple preparations – especially if you live in an area where there is a high risk of flooding, or if you have had a flood before.

The Council of the Isles of Scilly, the emergency services, and the Environment Agency will help where they can, but primarily you are responsible for protecting your own property.

If you require sandbags as a precautionary measure you will need to make your own arrangements to purchase them. If your property is at risk of flooding, be prepared by ensuring you have some at your property ready to fill.  The Council of the Isles of Scilly has in place an Emergency Management Plan and will respond to flooding events. When flooding is widespread, it is not possible to respond to every call for assistance at once, and our priority has to be to save lives.

If life is at risk, call 999.



  • Get some sandbags to block doors and airbricks (making sure there is adequate ventilation).

  • Make a flood kit. Keep a torch, battery radio, emergency numbers, rubber gloves, and your insurance policy in a safe place.

  • Know where your mains electricity and gas supply switches are.

  • Keep a list of useful numbers to hand (your insurance company, the Environment Agency Floodline number, etc).

  • Do not underestimate the damage a flood can do. Contact your insurance company to make sure you have adequate flood cover.

  • Do not assume everyone knows what to do. Make a family flood plan.

  • Do not wait for the flood happen. Floods can occur very quickly. Be Flood Ready.



  • Remember that during a storm the emergency services will be very busy. Only call for immediate assistance if there is risk to life.

  • Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or radio news channels. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms unless absolutely necessary.

  • Look after neighbours. People have been known to suffer from hypothermia after their homes have become flooded with cold rainwater even in summer.

  • Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded.

  • Do not try to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris and deep channels: these can cause serious injury or even death.

  • Do not take boats onto rivers or walk alongside rivers – this is extremely dangerous in a flood situation.

  • Do not allow children to play in floodwater – it can be contaminated with sewage and chemicals.

  • Do not smoke, eat, or drink whilst in contact with flood water and always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.



  • Turn off the electricity supply at the mains, but only if you can do so safely. Do not attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.

  • Get out of the water – move family and pets upstairs or to higher ground.

  • Make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer after the flood, before switching back on.



  • Only return to evacuated buildings if you are told it is safe to do so.

  • Avoid electricity sources and do not attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.

  • Get an approved service engineer to check your property utilities (gas, electricity, and water) before turning back on to ensure that all electrical circuits are fully dried.

  • Beware of contaminated water and sharp objects in lying flood water.

  • Ensure that you have a working smoke alarm as there is an increased risk of fire from wet electrics.

  • Take extra care if using candles and open fires.

  • If you property or belongings are damaged, contact your insurance company. Ask their advice before starting to clean up.


Shoreline Management Plan

The coasts of England and Wales are covered by twenty Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) which are produced by the Environment Agency and other key stakeholders.

The SMP is a non-statutory policy document for coastal defence planning and sets out the recommended approach to managing the shoreline over the next 100 years.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Shoreline Management Plan was last reviewed in 2011 and is currently being refreshed to ensure it remains appropriate and includes any new evidence which may have come to light since then.

- The Shoreline Management Plan originally was created for the Isles of Scilly in 1999 (SMP1 Isles of Scilly). 

- The second (current) Shoreline Management Plan was published in 2011 as the ‘Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2)’. The Isles of Scilly Section of the SMP2 is available in a PDF format here

- A mid-term review of the SMP2 was completed in 2016 and is available here, including a separate report for the Isles of Scilly.

An update of the Shoreline Management Plan is in progress and will be published when it is completed.

A map of the extent of the current Shoreline Management Plan designations for the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Severn Estuary is available here. This map is coded according to the following designations for the short, medium and long-term as:

NAI – No Active Intervention

HTL – Hold The Line

MR – Managed Retreat


Isles of Scilly Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for the islands has a duty to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management in its area.

The Isles of Scilly Local Flood Risk Management Strategy aims to reduce the number of people and properties at risk, increase community resilience and reduce the social and economic impact of flooding.

Local flood risk is defined as flood risk from surface runoff, groundwater and ordinary water courses, including references to lakes, ponds or other area of water which flows into an ordinary water course. However it is coastal erosion, tidal action and coastal flooding that pose by far and away the most significant flood risk to the islands. It is for this reason that the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy has been expanded to include the threat of coastal flooding. The Environment Agency is responsible for coastal flood and erosion risk management in England.

In partnership with the Environment Agency, we’ve produced the  Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for the Isles of Scilly. This sets out our plan for better managing flood risks in our area.

The Strategy is currently being updated.


Draft Flood Risk Management Plans

The Environment Agency is running a 3 month public consultation on draft Flood Risk Management Plans, from 22 October 2021 to 21 January 2022.

You can read more information and complete the survey by visiting the Environment Agency’s online consultation hub


Flood Risk Responsibility

The Environment Agency is responsible for the strategic overview of all sources of flood and coastal erosion risk.

Coastal Flooding & Erosion
The Environment Agency is specifically responsible for coastal flooding and flooding from main rivers (however there are no main rivers on the Isles of Scilly). As the Coastal Protection Authority, the Council has principal responsibility for coastal erosion. 

Surface & Ground Water Flooding 
The Council is responsible for flooding from surface water, ground water and managing the flood risk from Council owned and maintained highways drainage.

Sewers & Water Mains
South West Water is responsible for managing the flood risk from sewers and burst water mains.


Coastal Flood Risk Volunteers

The Council of the Isles of Scilly, as the Lead Local Flood Authority, is working with the Environment Agency to extend the National Flood Warning System to cover the islands. We are seeking the help of local residents who would be available to support us understand what happens during a storm event here on the islands. If you would like to be part of this group to understand more about the flood risk on the islands, and to help us better protect the community in future, please email environment@scilly.gov.uk