Leicester City Council has completed studies that identify the areas in the city which are at a high risk of flooding. Flooding is not only caused by overflowing rivers and streams but can also come from surface water runoff from roads and impermeable urban surfaces caused when drainage systems can’t cope with high intensity rainfall.
Leicester has over 30,000 residents at risk of potential flooding in the event of severe rainfall.
Flooding could occur when rivers or streams overflow during heavy rainfall over extended periods of time, or could come from storm events where water cannot drain away quickly enough.
The information and tools below will help you learn about your flood risk and make you become better prepared should a flood occur.
Below you can find definitions for the different types of flooding:
River flooding (fluvial) happens when the water overtops the river bank and floods nearby areas. River flooding can occur from the larger rivers in the city (such as the River Soar, Saffron Brook, Willow Brook and Braunstone Brook) or from smaller streams. (such as Gilroes Brook, Hol Brook and Ethel Brook.) Rivers can flood naturally or as a result of blockages and debris build up.
Surface Water Flooding
Surface water flooding occurs when the amount of rain falling on an area is too great for the drains or the ground to cope with. Surface water flooding can be difficult to predict and can cause flash flooding. There is a history of surface water flooding in parts of Leicester and you can find out below what Leicester City Council have put together to tackle surface water flooding.
Flooding from Sewers
Flooding from sewers is caused when pipes fill up and cannot take any more water. This can happen when the pipes are too small or have not been designed to carry sewage in addition to large amounts of rain water. Sewer flooding can also occur when there is a blockage in a pipe. Sewer flooding has occurred in Leicester and is reported to and acted on by Severn Trent Water Ltd.
Groundwater flooding occurs as a result of water rising up through the ground from underground stores such as aquifers or natural springs. This type of flooding tends to occur after a very long period of sustained high rainfall and can affect low lying areas. In Leicester this includes areas on the flood plain of the River Soar.
Flooding from Canals and Reservoirs
Flooding from canals and reservoirs is caused by overtopping and breaks in canal banks, weirs, sluices and locks. Canal flooding has occurred in Leicester and has been recorded by the Canal and Rivers Trust (formerly British Waterways).
In other regions such as areas along the coast, flooding from the sea can occur as a result of very high tides, storm surges or high waves. Leicester is too far inland to suffer from this type of flooding.
Explore the different types of flood risk in Leicester on the map below
Long periods of heavy rainfall may cause increased flood risk along sections of the River Soar and the other rivers which flow through Leicester. The areas of the city at greater risk are shown in the map below, termed Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3.
Map showing fluvial (river) flood risk in the Woodgate area of Leicester
Leicester City Council has been working with partners to produce 'Leicester Integrated Flood Risk Management Strategy'. This document outlines potential solutions for flood risk management in Leicester.
We would like to hear your views on the strategy and the proposed plans for managing flood risk in Leicester. While the official froum closed on November 12th,2017, please provide your views and feedback in the comment section below.
Surface water flooding
Leicester City Council has examined why the risk is higher in some areas and is investigating possible improvements. A strategy has been produced to look at these issues, called the Surface Water Management Plan. You can find out more information about the here or, alternatively, you can download a full version of the report in the Documents section.
The strategy includes:
- Working with partners to reduce the speed and amount of water flowing to hard surfaces
Storing more of the water as it travels downstream
Protecting low-lying areas by diverting flood water
Show communities how to protect property and make sure they get the earliest warning of floods
Reminding residents and businesses of the importance of insuring their property and contents
Within the Surface Water Management Plan, we have identified over 20 areas more likely to flood if there is heavy rainfall. They may be properties in lower areas where water can run downhill, or where surface water cannot flow away. These are shown in the map at the bottom of this page (termed 'Surface Water Flooding Hotspots').
Map showing surface water flood risk in the Woodgate area of Leicester
To find out more about your level of risk of flooding from rivers, visit the Environment Agency section of the GOV.uk website (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency) or alternatively check your flood risk here.
The Environment Agency also provide a flood warning service if you live in an area at risk of river flooding. You can sign up to the service here:
Click here to find out more information about being prepared for flooding and learning what you can do.
Live Flood Warnings
You can check below if there are any flood warnings (issued by the Environment Agency) currently in place for the Leicester area.
Live River Levels
The graphics below show current river levels around the Leicester area:
Sharnford River Gauge (upstream of Leicester)
Littlethorpe River Gauge (upstream of Leicester)
Freemans Weir River Gauge (Central Leicester)
Pillings Lock River Gauge (Downstream of Leicester)
- Do you know your flood risk? Leaflet [PDF | 274,09Kb]
- Glossary and Types of Flooding [PDF | 3,79Mb]
- Guidance on how to prepare for a flood and get help during and after [PDF | 84,17Kb]
- Leicester City Council Surface Water Management Plan report - May 2012 [PDF | 2,27Mb]
- Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (2015) [PDF | 1,13Mb]
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