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Flooding and Wetspots


"Wetspot" is a term used by the lead local flood authority (Surrey County Council) to describe the location of a flood incident that has been reported.


On 8 April 2008, the Council Executive approved the planned programme of work and expenditure of £1.2 million for Surrey Highways in 2008/9. This programme has now been re-assessed and is being progressed with a similar level of expenditure in 2009/10. The Executive has allocated this funding to complete, on a priority basis, ongoing works and to start new schemes at major wetspot sites across Surrey. This is in addition to approximately £2 million allocated for the maintenance of existing highway gullies and ditches.

A Members Flooding Task Group (FTG) was established in 2007/8 to agree how best to prioritise the wetspot sites across the County for funding purposes and to maximise "value for money". Furthermore, the FTG produced an Action Plan detailing commitments and actions relating to a variety of flooding issues which has continued to receive attention, together with a review of existing wetspot priorities.

Lead Local Flood Authority

As of April 2012, Surrey County Council has taken on the role of Lead Local Flood Authority for Surrey. This role places additional duties and responsibilities on the council to manage flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.
As a result of this, in 2012/13, the county adapted the wetspots database and assessment system to move from a highway flooding focus to a better representation of all flooding in Surrey.


The focus of flooding investigations in the County remains:

  • To understand the main causes of flooding in Surrey.
  • To identify and review where the main wetspot sites are in the County.
  • To identify, through the FTG Action Plan, opportunities to investigate, collaborate and act in order to mitigate a range of flooding problems in the short, medium and longer terms.

A number of factors are taken into account when assessing each wetspot site, but the key points that contribute to a high score are:

  • safety
  • internal property flooding
  • disruption to critical services
  • social and economic impacts
  • duration and frequency of flooding

Wetspot assessment

The assessment system is used to both understand where the most significant flooding locations in the county are and prioritise drainage improvements across the highway network in Surrey. By completing these assessments over recent years it has become apparent that some of the highest scoring wetspot are actually caused, to varying degree, by the failure of third party, non-highway drainage systems. These systems can and do discharge large volumes of water onto the network, that overwhelm the existing highway drains because they were never designed to accept this water. In these instances the County will work with these development planners and other third parties to minimise the effect wherever possible.

Wetspot database

The wetspot database has been developed and is continually being updated with current information to produce a comprehensive map and records of all the identified wetspot in Surrey. In addition the database is used to record information on completed drainage works and flood plains etc. together with the locations of highway drainage assets, including soakaways and gullies. This type of inventory data is essential to plan and programme future prioritised works efficiently and effectively in accordance with the principles of Asset Management.

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  • Updated: 02 Dec 2016
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