Blocked drains

Highway drainage (grids and gullies)

We are responsible for drainage on the adopted public highway. This includes the gullies or grids that can be found in the road or footway to take water off the highway.

Reducing flood risk on the highway – what we do

We're working all year round to prepare for flooding, with a range of measures including:

  • Carrying out cyclical maintenance on over 16,000 gullies each year, to keep them clear and the water flowing
  • Sweep the streets to keep them clear of detritus and leaves. Visit our street care page and leaf clearance programme
  • We monitor highway culverts and trash screens and the Highway authority will undertake repair work when necessary
  • If you report a blocked gully, we aim clear it within 28 days of it being reported to us
  • Undertake an annual programme of drainage repairs to fix or replace defective drains to help prevent surface water run-off from entering the road
  • Gullies in known flood hot spots are also given an additional clean prior to the start of the winter season
  • When heavy rain is forecast, we carry out additional inspections and maintenance within flood areas to ensure the drainage network is working properly. We then have one gully team on standby to react to any one-off issues which may occur

What the council is responsible for when it floods

When there's a local flood, we're responsible for:

  • Removing water from public roads and footpaths
  • Ensuring public roads and footpaths are safe to be used
  • Managing road and footway drainage on the adopted highway
  • Setting up an evacuation centre if there's severe flooding
  • Closing roads which are unsafe to use

Visit our dedicated flooding page for more information, including emergency contacts and details on the Flood Hub. 

What the council is not responsible for when it floods

When there's flooding, we're not responsible for:

  • Providing sandbags. It is the responsibility of all homeowners, residents, and businesses to protect their own property
  • Protecting private property from flooding. If you live in rented accommodation and have a drainage or flooding problem, you should contact your landlord or Housing Association
  • Managing flood risks from a burst water mains or blocked sewers. United Utilities are responsible for this
  • Managing and draining water on the M60 motorway. Please contact National Highways

Reporting a blocked highway drain (gully)

We clear the drains on a cyclical basis, however, sometimes a gully can get blocked before we get to it.

Please also remember that in heavy rain fall, the drains can become overwhelmed which gives the impression that they are blocked. Where you can, please wait for an hour after the rain has stopped to see if the water level drops.

Sometimes leaves can get washed over the gulley grate that need removing as they form a plug over the grate. Where the water level does not drop, you can report a blocked highway drain using the online form on the link below.

Report a blocked highway drain