Camping and caravan sites: minimise your flood risk
How to prepare your holiday park, residential park, caravan or campsite if it is at risk of flooding.
Your responsibilities as a site owner
You have a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of people on your site – visitors, tenants or homeowners. You should make them aware of the risk of flooding and what to do if there is a flood.
Your site licence
If you have a site licence granted by your local council, it will most likely have conditions specifically relating to flood risk. Most licences require you to display a flood warning sign. Check under the notices section of your licence. Your local council can provide further advice on how to meet your licence conditions.
If you have planning permission for your site you will need to meet any conditions set by the local council. These may include conditions relating to flood risk. For example, you may be asked to have a flood plan, or display flood warning information notices around the site.
Understand your flood risk
As well as checking the flood risk maps, you should carry out your own research. Find out if there has been flooding in the area before by speaking to:
- local residents
- the Environment Agency
- your local council
- your local internal drainage board (if there is one in your area)
- previous site owners or managers
- other local site or business owners
- your local parish, town or ward council
- your local community flood / emergency plan group
Liaise with the local council and emergency services (police and fire service) about their own emergency management plans. They may have identified other risks and may need to take into account those that you have recognised.
Displaying flood and weather information
You can use the example flood warning information sign.
- Flood action poster for camping and caravan sites (PDF, 119KB, 1 page)
You should always display a map of the site which shows emergency access routes and assembly points. Think about any special needs of people on your site when making your signs. For example, do your signs need to be in other languages, be in large print, or at different heights?
Post a weather forecast on notice boards and update it daily. If your site is in a coastal or tidal location, you should display daily times of high tides. If you are able to receive flood warnings, display the current flood warning status. Include the Floodline number and quick dial code for your area so visitors can check for themselves.
Telephone: 0345 988 1188
Where to display your signs
Signs should be put in prominent places around the site. For example:
- at reception
- car parking areas
- on existing information or notice boards
- on or by rubbish collection points or recycling bins
- near or on direction signposts
- in and around water points
- on the backs of caravan or chalet doors
- at the toilet or shower blocks
Write a flood plan
Plan in advance for flooding with a flood plan for your site. A plan can help you prepare for, and minimise the impacts of, flooding.
- Flood plan for camping and caravan sites (PDF, 554KB, 11 pages)
The overall aim of the plan is to minimise risk to life and maintain public safety. It also makes it easier to access information during a flood and communicate to staff what actions need to be taken. Having a flood plan will also mean that your business will be able to recover more quickly from flooding.
Include a site plan
Keep a copy of your site plan(s) in the same place as your flood plan. The site plan should also include details of:
- isolation points for services, such as gas and electricity, so that you can turn them off
- evacuation route(s) avoiding areas that could flood; but make sure the route is accessible for those with disabilities
- traffic management plans
- assembly points, including a ‘crisis centre’ which may be at an off-site location
- location of life-rings
You may need to provide help for elderly people or those with additional needs. Make sure you take into account extra time needed to evacuate and anything else they might need.
Keep up-to-date lists of useful contacts and include names of staff that are available to assist, contacts at emergency services, your insurance company and the Floodline number.
Activating your flood plan
Decide what trigger you will use to activate your flood plan. It could be a warning from the Environment Agency or one based on local observations. You can monitor river and sea levels. Contact your local community flood / emergency plan group to find out what triggers they use to activate their plan. You may be able to use the same.
Always have a designated person to activate your flood plan.
Raise the alarm with equipment, such as a bell, siren, or megaphones. Make these available to staff along with instructions on how to use them.
All alarm equipment must be maintained in working order and checked regularly.
Train your staff
All staff should know about the plan and be trained in what to do during a flood.
You should establish and communicate staff responsibilities (individual and general) in a flood. Have someone (or a team) who understands the site layout and is responsible for:
- activating the flood plan
- making decisions
- communicating to residents and visitors
Make sure your staff are easy to identify (for example, a uniform or high visibility jacket) and can communicate with each other during emergencies.
Members of staff with managerial responsibility for emergencies will require more detailed training. It is important that their training covers areas such as public authority liaison and managing other staff members in a crisis situation.
Carry out practice drills with staff, including it as part of their induction so that they understand their roles and responsibilities in a flood situation.
You should document every practice and staff training session. Use these sessions to gather staff feedback on whether the flood plan should be updated.
Keep your plan up to date
Keep your plan in a prominent position where all staff can access it. Make sure that the details within it are checked and updated regularly.
Prepare your site
Minimise the impact of flooding to static caravans by:
- siting them on higher ground
- using axle stands to raise them above ground level (by about 0.5 metres)
- during closed season, storing them away from low lying areas and tying together
- fitting flotation devices to the bottom
- using anchors
The British Holiday and Homes Parks Association (BH and HPA) and National Caravan Council (NCC) have published ‘Guidelines of good practice for the transportation, movement, siting, de-siting and commissioning of single unit caravan holiday homes’. Email email@example.com to request a copy of the guide.
Touring caravans and tents
Touring caravans and tents can be removed from the site if sufficient warning has been given and the water levels are not rising rapidly. This should be included in your flood plan. Give precautionary warnings in advance of possible flooding so that visitors can decide to move their caravans/cars early.
Temporary flood barriers and protection products
Temporary barriers and flood protection products can be quick and easy to deploy. They are readily assembled, dismantled, stored or reassembled. It takes roughly 6 to 8 people to erect 100 metres of demountable defences in an hour. You can read more about demountable defences and other flood protection products on the National Flood Forum’s Blue Pages.
Storage of gas cylinders and pollutants
Store your gas cylinders and pollutants, such as paint and chemicals, securely and away from the area at risk of flooding.
This short checklist outlines the key things to think about for your flood plan.
- Check my site licence and planning permission to see if there are any conditions relating to flood risk.
- Write my flood plan, or check an existing one contains all the necessary information.
- Make sure that all staff are aware my flood plan exists, know their role in the plan and where it is located.
- Schedule exercises to test the flood plan.
- Put up flood warning information signs around the site and organise a way to raise the alarm.
- Have a flood monitoring and warning system in place.
- Put in place practical ways of minimising flood risk.
- Check my insurance covers my business for flood damage, business interruption and lost revenue.
- Prepare emergency contact numbers and sources of important information and keep it accessible.
National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Telephone 03708 506 506
Telephone from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm GMT) +44 (0) 114 282 5312
Minicom (for the hard of hearing) 03702 422 549
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Published: 20 August 2013
Updated: 27 May 2016
- Floodline telephone number changed to 0345 988 1188
- 0845 contact number for Floodline removed. From November 2014, the telephone number for the Environment Agency’s Floodline service will be 0345 988 1188.
- First published.