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Cleaning gullies in Central Bedfordshire

Our highways team cleans and unblocks gullies in the area throughout the year. There are around 45,000 gullies in Central Bedfordshire, all of which get cleaned on a three year rota. We also have a data-led programme which has identified the gullies we clean more regularly.


Ahead of the winter weather, it's important that we unblock as many gullies as possible to keep the road surface clear of water, so our gritting is effective.

Reactive works

As well as the programme of works, we have a team who works primarily on gully reports. So, remember to report any blocked gullies via our portal.

Report a problem on the road or pavement >>


As part of our programme, we have brought in a new gully motor; better known as the Super-Vac. Unlike the normal gully motor, the Super-Vac has a more powerful jetting pressure, allowing it to unblock even the toughest of clogged drains in just a couple of minutes. In most circumstances, the Super-Vac can unblock gullies which would usually require two people to dig out, which means the new machine not only saves us time, but is also cost effective. As well unblocking the drains, our teams also fully clean the gully, check the condition of the gully covers, unblock leaves and debris from the gully pot and check that it drains properly.

How our highways team cleans drains

Questions and answers

What is a gully?

A gully consists of a concrete pot positioned under the road surface with an iron grate visible from the road. Water is collected in the concrete pot and is then channelled through a series of pipes before connecting into the main sewer network. Sometimes these pipes and channels become blocked with soil, leaves and rubbish preventing the flow of water to the main sewer.

How did we manage the cleaning of gullies in the past?

In the past we have cleared all roadside gullies every three years, with higher risk gullies being treated more regularly. This means that approximately 40% have been cleaned every year.

What happens if a lid is stuck or broke?

If a gully lid is stuck and we’re unable to clean or jet the gully, we will log and mark it to be completed at another date during this programme.

Are parked cars an issue?

Parked cars can cause an issue for our crews, cleaning and jetting the gullies, as they may be unable to access the drain. We make every effort to find the vehicle owner and ask them to move the car. If we’re unable to access the gully, we will make a note to return on another date.

Keeping up-to-date

Follow @CBC_Highways on Twitter (link opens in new window) to keep up-to-date with the programme.