Guidance Print Flood Risk and Coastal Change

Making development safe from flood risk

Paragraph: 054 Reference ID: 7-054-20140306

How can development be made safe from flood risk?

After applying a sequential approach so that, as far as possible, development is located to where there is the lowest risk of flooding, new development can be made safe by:

  • designing buildings to avoid flooding by, for example, raising floor levels;
  • providing adequate flood risk management infrastructure which will be maintained for the lifetime of the development, for example, using Community Infrastructure Levy or planning obligations, or Partnership Funding (further information on this funding mechanism is available on the Environment Agency’s website) where appropriate;
  • leaving space in developments for flood risk management infrastructure to be maintained and enhanced, and;
  • mitigating the potential impacts of flooding through design and flood resilient and resistant construction.

When considering safety, specific local circumstances need to be taken into account, including:

  • the characteristics of a possible flood event, e.g. the type and source of flooding and frequency, depth, velocity and speed of onset;
  • the safety of people within a building if it floods and also the safety of people around a building and in adjacent areas, including people who are less mobile or who have a physical impairment. This includes the ability of residents and users to safely access and exit a building during a design flood and to evacuate before an extreme flood;
  • the structural safety of buildings, and;
  • the impact of a flood on the essential services provided to a development.

While safety considerations are always very important, local planning authorities should seek to ensure that communities are sustainable, including ensuring that certain sections of society, such as the elderly and those with less mobility, are not unnecessarily excluded from areas where there is a risk of flooding.

See also further advice on:

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