Sandbags are a short term and relatively cheap way to manage flooding but only if they are filled and placed correctly. However, they are relatively ineffective when compared to purpose-designed flood protection products.

They are of no use if a property is already flooded. Instead, residents should concentrate their efforts on protecting family members and belongings.

Residents are encouraged to make sure their property is protected as far as possible. When flooding is threatened, we may have limited supplies of sandbags that we can provide to vulnerable residents, who are unable to provide for their own.

Due to flooding and road conditions it may be difficult for delivery of sandbags to reach residents in time. We advise that all households and businesses wishing to use sandbags purchase them in advance from local DIY stores and builders merchants, many of which offer a same day delivery service.

Sandbags eligibility

Sandbags may be provided to:

  • properties in imminent danger of flooding which are occupied by vulnerable (elderly, disabled and reduced mobility residents)
  • organisations in danger of flooding which are occupied by potentially 'life-saving' services eg hospitals/care homes

Sandbags will not be provided to:

  • properties that are at negligible risk of flooding or are already flooded
  • sheds, garages, gardens and outbuildings
  • residents who are able to purchase their own sandbags or have access to a Community Resilience Store
  • any other businesses

If you believe you need sand bags please call us on 01636 650000.

You will be asked for details relating to your property, who is in your property and rising water levels at that location. We will then assess the request and respond accordingly.

Local flood wardens and stores

Many of our riverside communities now have trained volunteer flood wardens and flood stores. Your local flood warden may be able to help you with sandbags and aqua-sacs during an emergency.

Sandbags available to buy

You can buy unfilled sandbags and a supply of sand from most DIY stores and builders merchants. You can also purchase filled sandbags from selective suppliers.

What to do with sandbags after a flood

Wherever possible please store full bags that have not come into contact with flood water to use again if you need them in the future. Often more than one flooding incident can occur in quick succession. We cannot re-issue sandbags to the same property over and over again.

The white plastic bags are durable for a period of a year or more if they are kept dry and in a shady place.

Please remember wet sandbags are very heavy, try to get someone to help you lift them. Any disabled people, the elderly or people with medical conditions who cannot lift or move the bags should contact us and we can arrange help.

If you are unable to store the bags full, then please empty the bags and store the pile of sand in your garden or yard and keep the bags so that they can be re-filled if necessary in the future.

If you do not wish to store them sand can be dug into the garden and once empty the bags can be placed in the wheelie bin and the sand dug into the garden if you have one.

Please do not place full sandbags or the sand in your green wheelie bin.

Do not allow children to play with the sand, or place it in sand pits. The sand is not suitable for this purpose, and it may harm your children.

Please ensure you wash your hands after handling the bags.


An Aqua-sac bag is a sturdy sack containing a superabsorbent polymer (SAP). After soaking in water for 5 to 8 minutes the bag self-inflates to over 30 times its original size. After inflation, the aqua-sac can be used in the construction of flood defences in a similar way to using traditional sandbags.

When deflated aqua-sacs are lighter and easier to handle than sandbags.


In order to be effective (i.e not float away / move) aqua-sacs must be fully inflated with water before being used to construct a flood defence.


Aqua-sacs are non-hazardous waste suitable for disposal in an approved solid waste landfill. Therefore, unused (dry) and used bags can be sent to landfill. Another possibility for disposal of limited numbers of bags is by 'greening', whereby bags are buried under a tree during planting to provide a water reservoir.

If greening is impractical, bags may be cut open to remove the SAP, which can be dug into soil to improve moisture retention.

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    Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm

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    Castle House
    Great North Road
    NG24 1BY

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