BGS flooding information

BGS is actively involved in flood research and data provision for the UK. We have two programmes focusing on river and coastal flooding, and groundwater flooding. In addition, we are developing new research into pluvial flooding.

Groundwater flooding

BGS has extensive experience of groundwater flooding research. Groundwater flooding occurs when groundwater rises to the ground surface. This may happen during winter and or after prolonged or heavy rain storms. The hydrogeology of catchments effects how susceptible any area is to groundwater flooding, which is especially a problem in valleys on the Chalk or in area where thick deposits of sands and gravels cover less permeable rocks.

BGS is currently researching into the geological controls of groundwater flooding on the Chalk and on groundwater flooding in Oxford.

BGS has also produced a national map showing variations in susceptibility to groundwater flooding.

River and coastal flooding

We have an active programme of research into floodplains, their origins and implications for landscape development across Great Britain.

Flooding from rivers or the sea takes place across floodplains and coastal plains. Geological maps show where the deposits form on the floodplains and coastal plains in Britain are located. These are the main areas at greatest vulnerability from flooding in the future. From this information BGS has produced a map dataset called Geological Indicators of Flooding.

Scientific studies of how floodplains formed, and what they are made of, provide important insights into identifying where river and coastal flooding has occurred in the past. This information complements other methods for predicting where such flooding may occur in the future.

Browse flooding

Part of the Geological Indicators of flooding map BGS flood response

Information on recent major flood events in the UK, air photograph records, posters and flyers.

Geological Indicators of Flooding map Geological Indicators of Flooding

A map illustrating where flooding has happened, and left geological indicators, in the last tens of thousands of years; useful to insurers, planners and to all those involved in trying to understand where floods might happen in the future. View a simplified version in geology layer of GeoIndex.

Geology and flooding map Geology and flooding

Explanation of why flooding happens, visualising floodplains and the geological factors involved in flood events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact the Flood Response Team

British Geological Survey
NG12 5GG
Telephone: 0115 936 3143
Fax: 0115 936 3276