Planning for flood risk in England

The Environment Agency and Town & Country Planning Association have partnered to produce an introductory video on addressing flood risk through the planning system in England. This video explains how and why planning must consider flood risk and explores different options and opportunities.

The role of the Environment Agency in the planning system is to provide flood risk advice to inform the decisions made by local authorities on planned development. This also includes translating the latest climate science to create user friendly guidance on how climate change can affect flood risk in the future. Both decision makers and developers can utilise this guidance.

This video will be useful for local authority planning officers and elected members in England, planning school students and anyone else with an interest in planning for flood risk.

Video resource:

Webinar recording:

Further Resources

Environment Agency strategy and related resources

National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England

The Environment Agency’s national strategy for managing flood and coastal erosion risk.

Managing flood risk: roles and responsibilities, Local Government Association

An explanation of the roles and responsibilities of different organisations in managing flood risk and coastal change.

Site-specific flood risk assessments and climate change

Flood risk assessments: climate change allowances

When and how local planning authorities and developers should incorporate climate change allowances into their flood risk assessments.

Flood map for planning webtool

Find flood information to help determine if a flood risk assessment is required in a planning application. Use the tool to request flood risk assessment data.

Flood risk assessments if you’re applying for planning permission

Find out when you need to do a flood risk assessment (FRA) as part of a planning application. How to complete a FRA and how it’s processed.

Flood risk standing advice for local planning authorities

To help LPAs work out when to use standing advice on site-specific flood risk assessments, and when to consult the Environment Agency.

ADEPT/Environment Agency joint guidance – Flood risk emergency plans for new development

Guidance aimed at local authority planners to help them understand when planning applications should be supported by a flood risk emergency plan, and what should be included in them.

Code of practice for property flood resilience (C790)and introductory animation

CIRIA guidance on the use of property flood resilience techniques. Includes C790d guidance for local authority planners on its use in planning.

Strategic flood risk assessments

Guidance for LPAs on how to prepare a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)

Environment Agency guidance to help LPAs prepare SFRAs to inform local plans

ADEPT Good practice guide for Strategic Flood Risk Assessments

Accompanies the guidance and includes good practice examples on the preparation of SFRAs

Monitoring performance

Environment Agency flood risk objections data

A list of those applications to which the Environment Agency lodged a flood risk objection. Where the Environment Agency has also recorded the LPA’s decision, the list sets out with the Environment Agency’s advice was followed.

Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Annual Report

A summary of flood and coastal erosion risk management work carried out by risk management authorities in England.

Relevant planning policies, planning guidance and secondary legislation

National Planning Policy Framework: Section 14 – Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change

Relevant section of the government’s planning policy document.

Planning Practice Guidance: Flood risk and coastal change

Government guidance on how implement relevant policies from the National Planning Policy Framework.

Planning Guidance on Water Cycle Studies

Guidance to help LPAs decide when to prepare a water cycle study and what to focus on.

The Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2021

Statutory Instrument which requires LPAs to refer applications for major development to the Secretary of State when they are minded to grant planning permission against Environment Agency flood risk advice.

Development Management Procedure Order (2015) – Schedule 4

Statutory Instrument setting out those circumstances when LPAs must consult with the Environment Agency and Lead Local Authority before the grant of planning permission.

Reducing the causes and impacts of flooding – SuDS and natural flood management

CIRIA The SuDS Manual (C753)

Guidance on the design, construction, management and maintenance of good SuDS.

CIRIA Susdrain

An online community for SuDS pratitioners

CIRIA Susdrain B£ST (Benefits Estimation Tool)

A free tool and guidance to help value the benefits of blue-green infrastructure

Association of SuDS Authorities

A member organisation aimed at Lead Local Flood Authorities, with the aim of promoting and developing the use of SuDS

Working With Natural Processes evidence directory

A directory of information about natural flood management, including different techniques and their benefits.

Mapping the potential for working with natural processes

Map showing areas where there may be opportunities to implement natural flood management approaches.

Spatial prioritisation of catchments suitable for using natural flood management

This identifies some (generally small and rural) catchments where measures that slow the flow of water are likely to provide the greatest flood benefits.

Use nature-based solutions to reduce flooding in your area

Guidance for utilising nature-based solutions to reduce flooding alongside advice on their implementation and potential for securing funding.

Trees and Water Sensitive Urban Design: Volume 2. GreenBlue Urban, June 2019

A guide to utilising trees and green infrastructure for stormwater management and SuDS applications.

Street Tree Cost Benefit Analysis. GreenBlue Urban, 2018

A ‘return on investment’ guide for urban tree planting.

Other relevant guidance and information

List of Shoreline Management Plans

A list containing links to all Shoreline Management Plans – plans prepared by coastal groups to identify the most sustainable approach to managing the flood and coastal erosion risks to the coastline over the next century

CIRIA – Delivering better water management through the planning system (C787F)

Guidance aimed at LPAs on how to take integrated approach to water management.

Locality Toolkits – How to consider the environment in Neighbourhood plans

Guidance for neighbourhood planning groups preparing neighbourhood plans.

Organised in partnership: