Do you need a flood risk assessment for planning permission?
Unsure what a FRA (Flood Risk Assessment) is?
If you are planning a new development you may have been told that you need a flood risk assessment as part of your planning application submission. But you may be unsure why you need a FRA as your development site is not near a river or at immediate risk to flooding.
It is becoming increasingly important to get advice from a flood risk consultant in the early stages of the planning process. By understanding the flood risks of your development site at an early stage in the planning process you may save yourself a lot of time and money. Without a FRA you may not get your planning permission and your project could be delayed or worse still require new plans and designs for planning permission to be granted.
When do you need a Flood Risk Assessment?
Ideally, a FRA should be completed as part of your pre-planning process, so that architectural designs for the development can include any design changes to your scheme.
If your development site is greater than 1 hectare or in a sensitive location, you must submit a Flood Risk Assessment as part of your planning process.
But how do you know where the flood zones are and what you need to submit? At Earth Environmental we can support your planning process and give you quality advice.
The scope and details of the Flood Risk Assessments will vary depending on the size and topography of the site, and which Flood Zone the site lies within.
You need to undertake a flood risk assessment for most developments within one of the flood zones.
This includes developments:
- in Flood Zone 2 or 3 including minor development and change of use
- more than 1 hectare (ha) in Flood Zone 1
- less than 1 ha in Flood Zone 1, including a change of use in development type to a more vulnerable class (for example from commercial to residential), where they could be affected by sources of flooding other than rivers and the sea (for example surface water drains, reservoirs)
- in an area within Flood Zone 1 which has critical drainage problems as notified by the Environment Agency
When you don’t need an assessment?
You don’t need to undertake a flood risk assessment for a development that’s less than 1 ha in Flood Zone 1, unless it could be affected by sources of flooding other than rivers and the sea, for example surface water drains.
It is important to note that surface water drainage can have an important impact on your development’s flood risk and it is prudent to discuss this early in the planning process. A surface water drainage strategy is a report detailing how surface water can affect a site and surrounding areas. It establishes how water can behave on a site, and estimates the surface runoff rate, viable flow pathways and likely sub-surface infiltration.
What is a Flood Risk Assessment?
A Flood Risk Assessment, also known as a FRA, is a report that details the main flood risks to a development site. The FRA is frequently needed as part of the planning application for a development. Your planning application may be refused by your local planning authority if you don’t include a flood risk assessment or if the FRA isn’t satisfactory. So it is essential to identify if your development site lies in a flood risk zone early in your planning application preparation.
Who provides Flood Risk Assessments?
You will usually need a flood risk specialist like Earth Environmental & Geotechnical to complete the flood risk assessment for you. You may consider to do it yourself if it’s for a simple, low risk development, for example a house extension in a non flood risk area. But you also need to consider the surface water drainage issues and check if your development site is in an area identified as having critical drainage problems.
Earth Environmental & Geotechnical can provide all the services required to ensure your planning application, whatever the development needs, is supported by the correct risk assessments and documents that you will require at the early stages of the planning process.
Earth Environmental & Geotechnical has extensive experience in supporting planning applications for a wide range of sectors including, residential housing, commercial, recreational, utilities local authorities and infrastructure.