Executive summary

Effective planning is essential for getting the right kind of sustainable growth in the right places. This includes avoiding development in flood risk areas and creating and maintaining places that are resilient to flooding. This report describes how flood risk information is used in strategic spatial plans and decision making, and the barriers and opportunities to improve this. This study is documented in 2 reports: • FRS18204/R1: Project report • FRS18204/R2: Evidence report: developing good practice criteria


Local development plans and policies are the main strategic tools used to locate new development in areas with the lowest risk of flooding. They are also beneficial in identifying and creating opportunities to reduce the impacts of flooding in existing communities. In England, the National Planning Policy Framework (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), 2021) requires that strategic flood risk assessments (SFRAs) are carried out and their findings used to inform local development plans and policies. They are used to apply a sequential approach that steers development away from areas of flood risk, and to develop tests and protocols for safe and resilient building design. In Wales, LPAs are encouraged to undertake a strategic flood consequences assessment (SFCAs) to inform their local development plans and polices. Planning policy in England and Wales also requires that all sources of flood risk (river, sea, surface water, groundwater, sewers, and reservoirs) are considered as part of this process. In 2018, the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned AECOM to research how flood risk information is currently applied in spatial planning, and to compile, analyse and share good practice and innovative approaches. The research focuses on SFRAs to identify the extent that current local development plans in England considered all sources of flooding. Click here to read the report.

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