The council does not have a duty to provide sandbags. If you are concerned about flooding you should make your own arrangements as soon as you hear that flooding is possible.
The Council has a very small number of staff to deploy at times of flooding emergency and these will be endeavouring to protect the public at large. The Council will not be able to assist a large number of individual homeowners who may find their properties threatened by flooding.
Sandbags can be obtained from any Builders Merchant or DIY Store - even Grow Bags will do! There is nothing special about sandbags. They are cheaper than pillow cases and cushion covers but are simply cloth bags that hold sand or soil so that a low wall can be built to dam the flow of water. If your house is under threat and you have no sandbags you will need to improvise. It is very unlikely that the Council or anyone else will be able to provide sandbags quickly enough in a real emergency. Bin liners or plastic carrier bags filled with soil dug from your garden will serve. Soil wrapped up in a bath towel made into a roll across the bottom of a door will help. Grow bags are the right shape and light enough to be carried around easily.
There are now a number of approved systems which manufacturers have designed to alleviate the effects of flooding. These systems have been approved by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and are kitemarked to show their status in a process which has involved the Environment Agency and HR Wallingford, the country's leading water research facility.
Flood protection products such as these, alone will not make a home flood proof - this is impossible. However their use may slow the flow of flood water into a property giving residents more time to move themselves and their belongings to safety. The Environment Agency has a booklet - Preparing for Floods - which gives practical advice on making your home more flood resistant. You may phone for a copy on the Floodline number, 0345 988 1188.