Gullies, manholes and drains

What is a highway gully?

storm water drain at side of road, known as a gully

A highway gully is a large pot in the ground covered by a metal grid and is usually found at the edge of a road. Rain water flows off the road surface into these gullies and then through underground pipes, sewer systems, soakaways, catchpits or roadside ditches, and on occasion directly into watercourses. The majority of gullies are connected to public sewers that carry both foul and surface water.

Who is responsible for cleaning gullies?

Leeds City Council is responsible for cleaning approximately 146,000 gullies on the publicly maintained highway. Gullies and surface water systems on private roads, parking areas or non-Council maintained land are the responsibility of the land owner. Yorkshire Water has responsibility for shared sewers and pipework outside a property boundary, they can be contacted on 03451 24 24 24.​

Cyclic gully cleaning service

The council operates five gully teams. Four teams operate across the 33 wards in Leeds. The remaining team predominantly attend to service requests throughout the city. All gullies are currently cleaned on a two year cyclic programme with gullies located along A & B classified roads, as well as those in known flood prone locations being cleaned at a more regular frequency. The programme may be subject to change dependent upon weather conditions or other circumstances. View the Leeds Gully Cleansing Programme (PDF 15KB).

Report a blocked gully

One day each week the gully tankers will respond to referrals of blocked gullies. If the gully reported is not causing flooding or a potential public health issue and is due to be cleaned in the next 6 to 8 weeks it will be programmed in when the tanker is next in that area. 

Depending on the nature of the blockage, the length of time it takes to resolve the problem may vary.

You can report a blocked gully online.

Flooding gullies

Some gullies cannot drain the water away fast enough and therefore will overflow or bubble up during periods of intense rain fall. Once the rain stops, the gully will usually drain away the water without needing any attention. Please consider whether there has been any recent heavy rain and wait a short time before reporting a gully that appears to be blocked. If the flooding is causing a potential hazard to road users or there is standing water, you can report a blocked gully using our online reporting tool.

Dropped keys / items in a gully

If an item has been dropped down a gully and you require one of our teams to retrieve it, this can be arranged by calling 0113 222 4407. Please note that there is a charge for this service.

Damaged gully or manhole covers

If a gully or manhole is loose, noisy, damaged, sunken or missing, you can report it using our online reporting tool.


Home owners are responsible for the drains which serve their property within their property boundary. Localised problems such as water in cellars are usually a matter for the property owner to deal with directly. Private rented tenants should contact their landlord.

We will only get involved in cases where there is a risk to public health, e.g. sewage discharging onto the public footpath. If you need to report a problem that could affect public health, please use the online reporting form.






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