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Planning & Development

Planners and developers have a responsibility to ensure future developments are sustainable and do not increase flood risk to the site or surrounding area. This is steered by national and local policy, and developers are required to consider all types of flooding and use sustainable drainage systems to manage surface water.

Planning Policy

Planning policy aims to provide sustainable development in the right places, taking full account of flood risks and climate change. This is implemented through national and local planning policy and is supported by accompanying guidance (see table below).

National Planning Policy Local Planning Policy
Policy Guidance Policy Guidance
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) Local Plan Supplementary Planning Documents
Neighbourhood Plan (where available, not a legal requirement) Other guidance notes as available




National Planning and Flood Risk Management

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) and decision-makers, both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications. Section 14 of the NPPF sets out how the challenges of climate change, flooding and coastal change will be approached through planning and development.

Click here to download the National Planning Policy Framework document.

The interpretation of the NPPF is supported by the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). This is a web-based resource which sets out how the government’s planning policies are expected to be applied in England. The flood risk and coastal change section of the PPG advises how to take account of and address the risks associated with flooding and coastal change in the planning process.

In broad terms, this national framework requires plans and developments to:

  • Take into account climate change over the longer term to avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts arising from climate change.
  • Develop policies to manage flood risk from all sources, taking account of advice from the flood risk management authorities (RMAs).
  • Ensure new development does not increase flood risk elsewhere.
  • Avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding by directing development away from areas at highest risk.
  • Where development is necessary, make it safe without increasing flood risk elsewhere and direct the most vulnerable development to areas of lowest flood risk.
  • Be supported by an appropriate site specific Flood Risk Assessment, where one is required.
  • Ensure development is appropriately flood resilient and resistant.
  • Major development should incorporate sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).