ERVPS submits objection in review of flood risk assessment

Why it is important to assess a development against the risk of flooding?

Flooding is a natural phenomenon that can cause significant damage and disruption to people, property, and the environment. Flooding can occur from various sources, such as rivers, the sea, surface water, groundwater, reservoirs, and sewers. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of flooding events in the future, as well as the number of people and properties at risk.

Therefore, it is important to assess a development against the risk of flooding before granting planning permission. This is to ensure that the development is located in the most suitable and sustainable area, that it does not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere, and that it incorporates appropriate measures to reduce and manage the flood risk. A flood risk assessment (FRA) is a tool that helps to achieve these objectives.

A FRA is required for most developments within one of the flood zones, which are areas classified by their probability of flooding from rivers or the sea. The FRA should follow the guidance from the national planning policy framework (NPPF) and the Environment Agency, which set out the principles and procedures for assessing flood risk and applying the sequential and exception tests. The sequential test aims to steer development away from high-risk areas to low-risk areas, while the exception test allows development in high-risk areas only if there are no reasonable alternatives and if the benefits outweigh the risks.

A FRA should also consider other sources of flooding, such as surface water, groundwater, reservoirs, and sewers, as well as the potential impacts of climate change on flood risk. A FRA should provide evidence and information on the following aspects:

  • The current and future flood risk at the site and in the surrounding area
  • The vulnerability of the proposed development and its users to flooding
  • The potential effects of the development on flood risk elsewhere
  • The measures to avoid, reduce, or manage the flood risk at the site and in the surrounding area
  • The emergency plans and procedures for dealing with a flood event

By conducting a FRA, developers can demonstrate that they have considered all reasonable options and chosen the most appropriate site and design for their development. A FRA can also help to inform the local planning authority’s decision-making process and ensure that planning permission is granted in accordance with the national planning policy and guidance. A FRA can also benefit developers by reducing their costs and liabilities associated with flooding, enhancing their reputation and credibility, and improving their resilience and adaptability to climate change.

In conclusion, assessing a development against the risk of flooding is important for promoting sustainable development and reducing the impact of flooding on people and property. A FRA is a key tool for achieving this goal and should be carried out in line with the relevant policy and guidance. By doing so, developers can contribute to creating safer and more resilient communities in the face of flooding.

Read the objection made by ERVPS, 6th August 2023.