1) Carry out maintenance of any watercourses and ditches in the summer months, clearout the silt (its an excellent nutrient for the garden). Cut back foliage to ensure that saplings do not get established in the bed or banks of the watercourse.
2) Ensure that piped sections of the watercourse under driveways are rodded and clear. These restricted locations are the most vulnerable to flooding and need the most attention.
3) Do not dump grass clippings or other rubbish in the ditch.
For general maintenance (see What can I do to help prevent Flooding) no ‘permissions’ are required. The advice of the Environment Agency (EA) or Local Authority , who are the land drainage authority, should be sought before undertaking any alterations to watercourses and if the watercourse is within a conservation area or Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) English Nature need to be consulted. Consent from the EA and Local Authorities is required before any structure or culvert is erected or altered.
Your local parish or town council has an important role in helping the community prepare during times of flooding. The publication ‘Managing Flood risks in Parishes’ published by the Hampshire Flood Steering group is aimed at local communities and gives guidance on the actions that maybe taken. A key step is the development of a Parish action plan and a flood defence group. Many Parishes have developed this and it is worthwhile making contact with your Parish or Town Council secretary to find out more.