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Emergency Planning and Business Continuity

If you are in immediate danger call 999

To contact Tunbridge Wells Borough Council please call 01892 526121

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (in conjunction with Kent County Council) has certain responsibilities and powers to make, keep under review and revise plans to cope with the effects of a major civil emergency within all or part of the Borough.

A Major Emergency is defined as:

  • an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in the United Kingdom or in a part or region
  • an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of the United Kingdom or of a part or region or,
  • war or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom.

Disaster often strikes quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighbourhood or confine you to your home .The likelihood is that most of us will never face a major incident during our lifetime, but nevertheless, tragedies such as air and rail disasters, storms and floods do happen and therefore we must be prepared.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has a wealth of expertise, which is used daily to deliver services to the public. In an emergency, key specialists are called together to identify the problems, and make sure an effective response is being operated. This is managed though our Emergency Procedures.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a process that helps Tunbridge Wells Borough Council manage risks, allowing us to continue to deliver services to the public in the event of a disruption, big or small, right through to recovery.

Any incident whether it is large or small, accident or deliberate can cause major disruption to your business. However, by planning in advance you will be able to resume your day to day business sooner.

This is where Business Continuity Planning (BCP) comes in. Its purpose is to help you to prepare strategies to cope with disruptions so that you can continue to deliver your businesses critical activities and reduce potential harm to staff.

By understanding the risks facing the everyday running of your business or organisation, you are better able to foresee problems and guard against them developing into serious disruptions.

Why have a Business Continuity Plan?

It is important to plan for unforeseen circumstances. For example, what would you do if your workplace catches fire?

Some hard decisions will have to be made, and made quickly. For instance:

  • What do you do with all your staff?
  • How do you tell the community/customer that you cannot provide 'business/service as usual'?
  • How do you meet important deadlines?

The list of questions grows, and so do the levels of uncertainty and anxiety. Without a Business Continuity Plan you will have to rely on an ad-hoc approach to deal with these.

For further information on Business Continuity, please visit the Business Continuity Institute website.

Contact us

If you have any queries or require further information on this webpage, please contact our Emergency Planning team.

Guidance for Surface Water Flooding

Download our guide on how to prepare, respond and recover from a surface water.

Drainage & flooding a short guide for residents

Drainage & Flooding - guidance from Southern Water


We do not supply sandbags to residents and businesses, however we will try to assist in the response to the flooding defence of Tunbridge Wells, including making sandbags available to the highest risk locations.

Our supply of sandbags is limited and we cannot guarantee that sandbags will be available in sufficient time, or in sufficient quantities to prevent or reduce damage to properties.

If you live in a known flood risk area, you should adopt a self-help approach by purchasing sandbags from your local builders merchants; prepare in advance and respond to forecasts or flood warnings.

Storage of Sandbags

Sandbags disintegrate with exposure to the weather so they are not recommended for use after long periods of time. However, they can be stored in a dry place to use again in the near future, as more than one flooding incident can occur in quick succession.

Wherever possible store dry sandbags, as wet bags will decay quicker.

If you are unable to store full sandbags, please empty the dry bags and store the pile of sand in a dry place, keeping the bags so that they can be re-filled.

If you are not storing sandbags for future use, double wrap them (bin liners can be used), and take them to your nearest household waste recycling centre for disposal. Alternatively, the bags can be split open, with the sand dug into your garden, and the empty bags put in your refuse bin.

Please do not place full sandbags or sand in your bin for collection, and do not allow any sand to be washed into drains as this will block them. Wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water afterwards.

NB - Never allow children to play with the sand from sandbags, or place it in sand pits as the type of sand used in sandbags is not suitable for this purpose, and it may also be contaminated.

Further guidance on flood prevention is available on the Environment Agency website.

Who to Contact

  • If you or your neighbours are in immediate danger of flooding, call the Emergency Services on 999.
  • If your home is in immediate danger of flooding call us on 01892 554640. Although we do not have a statutory duty to provide sandbags, we will try to support our residents during times of imminent flooding.
  • Flooding from highway gullies can be reported to Kent County Council’s Highways department.
  • If flood water is coming from a public sewer or freshwater pipe, please contact the Southern Water for foul or South East Water for fresh.

The better prepared you are, the better you'll cope with the effects of flooding. We recommend that if you live in a known flood risk area, you should adopt a self-help approach and prepare in advance, and respond to forecasts or flood warnings. A good starting point is the Kent Prepared website. General advice on preparing for flooding can be also be found on the flooding section of the GOV.UK website.

What to do in The Event of Flooding

The Environment Agency has produced a publication on what to do before, during and after a flood, as well as the following checklist:

  • Keep a list of useful numbers to hand e.g. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (01892 526121), the emergency services, your insurance company and Floodline (0345 988 1188).
  • Have a few sandbags and some plastic sheeting prepared to block doorways and airbricks, or install proprietary flood defence systems.
  • Make up a flood kit, including a torch, blankets, waterproof clothing, wellingtons, a portable radio, first aid kit, rubber gloves and key personal documents. Keep it upstairs, if possible.
  • Talk about possible flooding with your family or those you live with. Consider writing a flood plan, and store these notes with your flood kit.
  • Make sure you know where to turn off your gas and electricity.
  • What about your pets? Where will you move them to if a flood is on the way?
  • Think about your car. Where could you move it to in the event of a Flood Warning?
  • Get into the habit of storing valuable or sentimental personal belongings upstairs or in a high place downstairs.
  • Think about medication. In the event of a flood, you'll still need to take it with you.

Community Flood Risk

This document has been prepared for the residents and businesses of TWBC.  It provides information on the nature and magnitude of the flood risk across the county and outline the existing and proposed approaches to manage the risks identified.

View Document

It has been developed with the help and support of the other Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) that operate across Kent. These include the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, The district councils, Southern Water, Thames Water and the various internal drainage boards that operate within Kent.

These documents aim to provide a summary of:

  • the main flood risks to the county
  • the key flood risk management assets/structures
  • any flood risk management plans or strategies that are in place
  • where to find further information.

This is a living document and will be periodically reviewed and revised as any relevant new information or plans become available.

The Kent Resilience Forum ensures that the whole of Kent works together to improve the resilience of our county.  To find out more about how you, your business and your community can prepare for emergency please visit:

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