Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments

Find out why Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments (PFRA) are being produced and view the PFRA for your area.

What is a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA)?

Why have PFRAs been produced?

PFRAs have been produced to fulfil statutory requirements in the Flood Risk Regulations, which implement the requirements of the European Floods Directive. The Floods Directive requires PFRAs to be published by  22 December 2011.

Who has produced PFRAs?

PFRAs have been produced by lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) in England and Wales. There are 174 LLFAs in total - 152 in England and 22 in Wales. Some LLFAs have worked together to produce these, so there are a total of 169 PFRAs covering England and Wales.

What does a PFRA look like?

The Environment Agency provided guidance on how to prepare a PFRA and what to include. Each PFRA contains a core set of standard information, however the format and any additional content will vary.

All PFRAs include a:

  • summary of information on significant historic floods;
  • summary of information on future flood risks based primarily on the Environment Agency's national datasets;
  • spreadsheet containing information for reporting to the European Commission.

If a LLFA is within a Flood Risk Area the PFRA also includes information on this.

Why hasn't the Environment Agency produced a PFRA?

We have not produced a PFRA as we are continuing to use our existing processes to map and plan for flooding from main rivers, the sea and reservoirs across England and Wales. These processes will be adapted to ensure we meet the requirements of the Floods Directive. We are able to do this under the Floods Directive transitional arrangements.

What is a Flood Risk Area?

It is an area where there is a significant risk of flooding from local sources, such as surface water, ground water and ordinary watercourses.  They have been identified using guidance produced by Defra and the Welsh Government.The Environment Agency provided LLFAs with ‘indicative’ Flood Risk Areas in December 2010 as a starting point for their assessments.

These were produced by applying the method in the Government guidance to produce 'clusters' of areas where flood risk is an issue and then applying the thresholds agreed by Ministers of:

  • 30,000 people in England
  • 5.000 people in Wales

A lower threshold has been selected in Wales to reflect the nature of the risks in Wales including the smaller size of settlements and the risks in the south Wales valleys. 

What are the next steps?

LLFAs in Flood Risk Areas need to produce hazard and risk maps by June 2013. These will outline the extent and consequences of flooding including depth and flow. They will also need to produce flood risk management plans by June 2015. 

LLFAs that are not in a Flood Risk Area do not have any further work under the Flood Risk Regulations until the next cycle begins in 2016.  However, the PFRAs will provide evidence to help LLFAs manage local flood risk through their local flood risk management strategies. Local flood risk management strategies are required under the Flood and Water Management Act.  More information about local flood risk management strategies can be found our local strategy e-learning and Local Government Association guidance. Local Strategy guidance for LLFAs in Wales will also shortly be available on the Welsh Government's website. Local Strategy guidance for LLFAs in Wales will also shortly be available on the Welsh Government's website.

Find out about the PFRA where you live

For ease of reporting the PFRAs have been grouped in river basin districts. As LLFA boundaries do not match river basin district boundaries, for ease of presenting information, we have assigned LLFAs to the river basin district which they are mainly within.

Map South East River Basin District Thames River Basin District South West River Basin District Western Wales River Basin District Anglian River Basin District Dee River Basin District Western Wales River Basin District Humber River Basin District North West River Basin District Northumbria River Basin District Solway Tweed River Basin District A PFRA is a high level screening exercise to collect information on past (historic) and future (potential) floods and to use this information to identify Flood Risk Areas.