Road gullies and drains
Gullies are small chambers that form the top part of the surface water drainage system. Rain water from the road surface flows through the gratings into the gullies and then into the underground drainage system.
Who looks after road gullies and drains
We are responsible for 100,204 gullies and gully grids (the metal gratings in the gutter) on adopted roads in Cheshire East.
When we attend the gullies, we empty them and check that they are working. We inspect them for any damage and will arrange any repairs if they are required.
National Highways are responsible for gullies and drainage on motorways and trunk roads
Drainage on your land (riparian owners)
You must look after gullies and drains on or under your private land. United Utilities maintain public foul water and surface water drains and sewers.
You are a riparian owner if you own land or property with a watercourse that:
- runs on or under your land
- is on the boundary of your land, up to its centre
The deeds for your property or land will tell you if this is not the case. As a riparian owner, you have certain rights and responsibilities. You can find out more about owning a watercourse on gov.uk.
If a flooding problem on your land threatens other land, let us know. We can find out who owns it and take appropriate action.
We follow a risk based approach to maintaining gullies and use a targeted cleanse programme. Higher risk areas and areas more likely to flood are cleared more regularly. In lower risk areas the frequency of gully clearing may be reduced.
We assess each gully and look at:
- the likelihood of a blockage happening and the impact that may have on properties and on the highway network
- historic silt levels
- gullies within the EA flood risk areas,
- road hierarchy and road form
- speed limit of the road
- previous gully cleaning information
- If jetting is required
- local knowledge.
We use this information for our gully cleaning schedule. Each gully is scored and averaged for each road and allocated a cleaning cycle schedule as follows:
||Cleaned once in a 6 monthly period
||Cleaned once in a 12 monthly period
||Cleaned once in a 2 yearly period
||Cleaned once in a 3 yearly period
These schedules will be reviewed regularly and assessed to ensure they are up to date. You can view our online gully tracker to see the gullies we maintain and when we last emptied it.
We will look to clean our dual carriageway gullies in line with the annual grass cutting and weed treatment schedules.
When to report an issue with a gully or drain
If you think any gully or drain is causing an immediate danger, such as water entering your house, contact us on 0300 123 5020 during working hours or outside of working hours on 0300 123 5025.
Where there is a flooding emergency or danger to life, call 999.
Before you report an issue with a gully or drain you should be aware that gullies vary in the speed they can drain water away. Some will overflow during heavy rain even if there is no blockage. The water will clear when the rain stops. We will not visit overflowing gullies during heavy rainfall unless the water is causing a risk to life or property.
Each gully has a trap to collect and stop leaves, litter and dirt from entering the drain and causing a blockage. Whenever the trap is full the gully’s drainage will slow down and may cause it to overflow. This is a likely cause of most non-urgent issues and should be picked up during our routine maintenance.
If you think leaves, dirt or litter are blocking the gully grating you should make a report under the 'street sweeping' category to address this.
You should report a problem to us if:
Report a gully or drain issue
- water flowing off the road is at risk of entering a building e.g. house or garage
- there is standing water on the road obstructing safe passage
- water on the road has not drained away after the rain has stopped
- there is a risk of ice forming on the road
- we have not already scheduled maintenance work
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If you consider a highways issue to be dangerous, or an emergency:
Call the Highways Customer Services Team on 0300 123 5020
during office hours 8:30am – 5:00pm
Call the Out of hours team on 0300 123 5025
after 5pm and before 8:30am, including weekends.
Delamere Street Crewe
Page last reviewed: 20 July 2023
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