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Planning - Floods

Planning - Flood Risk

The risk of flooding is a key consideration in determining planning applications and in the selection and assessment of sites for development. The impact of flooding needs to be assessed both in respect of the risk of flooding to a particular proposed development and any increased risk of flooding to other areas from a proposed development.  The principal legislative framework is the 2010 Flood and Water Management Act, as amended.

For East Northamptonshire, the principal responsibilities for managing development with regards to flood risk are divided between the following bodies:

  • Northamptonshire County Council (Lead Local Flood Authority/ Highways Authority) – The principal “day to day” contact with responsibilities for flood risk management (e.g. surface water runoff, groundwater, ordinary watercourses and highways drainage); since 2015 the statutory consultee to the planning application process for major development only that have surface water drainage implications.
  • East Northamptonshire Council – Development management functions and other flood risk management responsibilities, as defined in legislation such as the 1991 Land Drainage Act and 1990 Environmental Protection Act.
  • North Northamptonshire Safety and Resilience Partnership (NNSRP) – Delivery of corporate safety, emergency planning and business continuity services (further details are available through this link).
  • Environment Agency – Responsibility for flood risk management from main rivers (generally named water courses; e.g. River Nene, Harper’s Brook, Hog Dyke, Skew Bridge Dyke, Willow Brook etc) and reservoirs.
  • Anglian Water Services Ltd – The relevant water and sewerage company covering the whole District, with responsibility for managing flood risk from public sewer systems.

Lead Local Flood Authority

The County Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority, has produced a number of detailed policy documents and guidance regarding planning and flood risk management.  Further details are available through the following links:

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has produced standing advice for England on development and flood risk issues which are relevant to the Local Planning Authority and applicants/ agents.  The Agency’s Resilience and Adaptation team has also, with the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) updated guidance on flood risk emergency plans for new development. The guidance was published on Monday 23rd September and is available on the ADEPT website.

The guidance is principally aimed at local authority planners, to help them understand when they should be asking for planning applications to be supported by flood risk emergency plans, and what should be included in them. It encourages local planning authorities to produce their own guidelines and set up local consultation arrangements to ensure emergency plans are fit-for-purpose and receive proper scrutiny. It also provides a framework for them to appraise emergency plans in the absence of such local arrangements. 

The guidance will also help developers and their consultants produce suitable emergency plans, and should ensure emergency planners, local resilience forums, the emergency services and other risk management authorities are involved appropriately in the planning process. The guidance aims to support robust consideration of whether proposed development will be safe.