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PPG Flood Risk Solutions: An Ultimate Defence Against Flood Damage

In this article, the readers will learn about PPG Flood Risk Solutions.

An overview of PPG Flood Risk

PPG Flood Risk Management Approach

PPG Recommended Flood Risk Solutions

UK Regulations on Flood Risk Management

Case Study of a Bristol City Council: Hartcliffe Campus Development which is a successful adaptation of PPG Flood Risk Solutions


The National Planning Practice Guidance is documentation that adds further context to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and it is intended that the two documents should be read together. The PPG Flood and Coastal Risk offer unprecedented protection against flooding.

As heavy flooding has worsened in the UK over the past few years, PPG Flood Risk solutions offer a reliable defence against damages. In 2015 alone, about 17,800 properties were affected by severe floods in Northern England and suffered an eye-watering £5.8 billion financial impact – no small figure, showcasing how vital adequate protection is now more than ever.  So, let’s get an in-depth overview of the PPG flood risk solutions, Keep reading!

Flood Risks PPG – An Overview

The Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) is a guide for managing flood risk in the UK. It outlines best practices for planning, assessing, and mitigating flood risk to protect homes and businesses and improve community resilience.

Purpose of this Guidance

PPG is a set of guidelines provided by the UK government to local authorities and infrastructure developers to assist them in managing the risk of flooding in their areas. The PPG provides information on identifying risk areas, reducing the risk of flooding, and preparing for and responding to flooding events.

PPG covers a range of topics related to flood risk management, including:

  • Flood risk assessment and mapping
  • Flood protection measures
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems
  • Emergency planning and response
  • Community engagement and communication

Besides, the UK government offers several resources and websites to aid individuals’ readiness and reaction towards flooding incidents. These official sources furnish valuable information regarding the risk of flooding in the UK, such as flood warnings, flood insurance, and evacuation guidance. Such as,

  • The Environment Agency – provides information on flood warnings and alerts, as well as advice on how to prepare for flooding and stay safe during a flood event.
  • Flood Re – is a government-backed scheme that aims to make flood insurance more affordable and widely available.
  • National Flood Forum – a charity that supports and advises people and communities affected by flooding.

The PPG offers essential direction for handling flood risks in the UK. 

Strategic Assessments – A Roadmap for PPG

Strategic assessments for flood risk play a vital role in the UK’s planning process. They ensure that development occurs with due consideration of the risks related to flooding. Some common practices in the strategic evaluation of PPG frisk recommendations may include:

  • Understanding flood risk: To effectively manage risk, it is crucial to deeply understand the potential impact of flooding and employ relevant data and techniques to assess its likelihood. The Environment Agency’s website is an invaluable resource for comprehensive guidance on conducting a risk assessment.
  • Planning and design: The early consideration of flood risk and implementation of risk-reducing measures, such as SuDS and flood-resilient building design, is highly recommended by the PPG for infrastructure planners and developers. The government offers guidance on its website to assist with SuDS design and implementation.
Design of a Flood Resilient Building
Design of a Flood-Resilient Building
  • Emergency planning and response: PPG emphasises the significance of flood preparation and response, which involves creating effective emergency response plans and applying local communities in awareness-raising efforts and support provision. 
  • Community engagement: To ensure effective planning and decision-making, the UK government highlights the significance of interacting with local communities and stakeholders in their community management policies under PPG risk planning. They emphasise that it is crucial to understand citizens’ needs and concerns and engage them in the response plan and mitigation process. 

This strategic assessment seeks to enhance flood risk management in the UK by considering various factors. Its primary goal is to improve readiness and safeguard communities from flooding incidents.

Flood Risk Management Approach 

The flood risk management approach is an innovative and comprehensive system that uses advanced technologies and data analysis to mitigate the impact of floods. It aims to protect communities, lives, and property from the devastating effects of flooding. There are a few steps involved in this approach:

Step 1: Flood Zone Identification

Step 2: Hazard Mapping

Step 3: Flood Risk Assessment (FRA), Sequential & Exceptional Tests

PPG Flood Risk vulnerability and flood zone incompatibility
Flood Risk vulnerability and flood zone incompatibility

Step 1: Flood Zone Identification

In the UK, effective flood risk management relies on identifying flood zones accurately. To achieve this, the PPG offers guidance for carrying out the process efficiently. During the Flood Zone Identification process, regions are categorised into distinct zones based on the probability and intensity of potential floods. The four significant zones, determined through this process, include:

  • Flood Zone 1: Flood Zone 1 encompasses areas with a low likelihood of flooding, with less than 0.1% chance of annual flooding.
  • Flood Zone 2: Flood Zone 2 comprises areas with a moderate risk of flooding, with an annual probability of flooding between 0.1% and 1%.
  • Flood Zone 3a: In contrast, Flood Zone 3a includes areas with a high risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, where the annual probability of flooding is greater than 1%.
  • Flood Zone 3b: Flood Zone 3b, on the other hand, covers areas with a very high surface water flood risk from sources other than rivers or the sea, such as groundwater or surface water. As per a recent update of PPG guidance by the Environment Agency in 2022, the functional floodplain (Flood Zone 3b) has expanded with a new requirement of a 1 in 30 (3.3%) or greater annual probability, replacing the previous 1 in 20 (5%) requirement.

Flood risk maps for England are produced and updated by the Environment Agency, enabling the identification of vulnerable areas. Refer to Tables 1 & 2 of the “Flood risk and coastal change” guidebook for more insights about the UK flood zones. Or you can email Environment Agency to know your property zones precisely. 

Step 2: Hazard Mapping in Flooding Areas

Once you’ve identified your flood zone, it’s crucial to map out potential hazards. The PPG from the UK government offers comprehensive instructions on hazard mapping techniques, which involve assessing flood risks and accounting for the effects of climate change. Hazard mapping allows communities to understand better and mitigate risks to protect lives and property.

  • The Environment Agency oversees flood risk management and offers a range of resources and tools to aid in hazard mapping and flood risk assessment. One such tool is the Flood Map for Planning, which provides site-specific flood risk information to users.
  • SEPA’s Flood Risk Management website offers access to flood hazard maps for Scotland, allowing individuals to assess potential flood risks in their area. These maps provide a valuable resource for residents, businesses, and emergency services in developing flood preparedness plans.
  • Natural Resources Wales offers valuable resources to the public through their Flood Warning and Information Service, including flood risk maps and other helpful information. These tools help residents and businesses in Wales prepare for potential flooding and mitigate risks to life and property.

Mapping hazards is crucial to effective flood risk management in the UK. With the help of PPG guidelines, assessments can be conducted to identify vulnerable areas. Utilising government resources and tools, such as those offered by local authorities and planners, can enable them to make informed decisions about managing flood risks.

Step 3: Flood Risk Assessments (FRA), Sequential & Exceptional Tests

The PPG provides complete guidance on flood risk assessments in the UK. Sequential and exceptional tests are essential for assessing flood risks and determining effective mitigation measures. By utilising these tools, communities can safeguard themselves from the destructive impacts of flooding.

Sequential Tests:

Sequential tests are commonly employed to evaluate the feasibility of developing a site concerning flood susceptibility. This assessment examines the potential for utilising the land in the vicinity with a lesser likelihood of flooding and the practicability of using this land for development purposes. The testing sequence for development on flood-prone land follows a specific order:

  • First, priority should be given to developing land with the lowest risk of flooding, which falls under Zone 1.
  • If the land is unavailable in Zone 1, the next option is to consider slightly riskier areas, such as Zone 2.
  • If land in Zone 2 is also unavailable, only then should the next zone with an even higher risk of flooding, Zone 3a, be considered. 
  • Lastly, if all options have been exhausted (and it is essential for development), then Zone 3a or 3b land should be considered.

Exception Tests:

Exception tests evaluate if a development in a flood-risk area can be permitted if it is deemed necessary after sequential tests. To pass the exception test, the development must demonstrate wider sustainability benefits to the community and be safe throughout its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere. Exception tests must consider the following:

  • The availability of alternative locations for the development.
  • The economic, social, and environmental benefits of the development.
  • The development safety and flood risk management measures will be implemented to mitigate flood risk.

PPG Recommended Flood Risk Solutions

The PPG recommends various flood risk solutions for managing floods in the UK. Some of these solutions include:

SuDs Development

Flood Protection Measures

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs) Development 

Sustainable Drainage Urban Systems

The UK government’s flood risk management strategy relies heavily on SuDS. These systems are designed to replicate natural drainage, enabling rainwater to be absorbed by soil and filtered instead of quickly discharged into waterways. SuDS implementation is required for most new developments in England under the Flood Risk PPG. SuDS have proven effective in various contexts, including residential areas, commercial sites, and highways.

Flood Protection Measures 

The Flood Protection Measures recommended in the PPG for managing flood risk in the UK include structural and non-structural measures. Structural measures involve physical changes to buildings or infrastructure to reduce flood risks, such as flood walls or barriers. In contrast, non-structural measures focus on managing flood risk through planning and land use management.

Examples of flood protection measures include:  

  • Flood-resistant design and construction: To ensure resilience against floods, the PPG suggests constructing new buildings and infrastructure with flood-resistant elements. These include elevated electrical outlets, waterproof materials, and fortified doors and windows. For detailed guidance on flood-resistant design and construction, consult the government’s website.
  • Flood barriers and walls: Flood-prone regions may require the installation of flood barriers or walls for adequate protection. For guidance on the proper design and construction of such structures, the Environment Agency provides valuable resources on its website.
  • Natural flood management: Natural flood management measures, which do not involve structural changes, can significantly decrease flood risk. Floodwater can be slowed down and stored by natural processes like restoring functioning floodplains, land & soil management measures, beach nourishment, etc. Interested individuals can find information on natural flood management on the government’s website.
  • Alerts and Evacuation Plans

The UK government proposes the utilisation of alerts and evacuation strategies as solutions to minimise flood risks. Alerts can be disseminated to notify residents living in flood-prone regions of potential risks and actions to take. Evacuation plans include identifying safe routes and locations for people to relocate during floods and providing necessary support and aid to those in need.

Preventative measures can mitigate the potential for harm to individuals and property during floods while enhancing community resilience and preparedness.

UK Regulations on Flood Risk Management

The management of flood risks in the UK is governed by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, NPPF, and EA. These regulations aim to enhance resilience to climate change by coordinating flood risk planning and management, ultimately reducing the likelihood of flooding. These regulations are:

Flood and Water Management Act 2010

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Flood and Water Management Act 2010

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is a crucial UK legislation striving to enhance flood risk and water resource management. The Act establishes a comprehensive system to promote better coordination and collaboration among various entities and government tiers, bolstering the country’s resilience against future flood events. 

It encompasses various strategies to mitigate flood hazards and enhance water management. It imposes additional duties on local authorities and other entities to manage flood risks and bolster community resilience. Further details on Flood and Water Management Act 2010 are available on the UK government’s official website.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is a comprehensive set of guidelines and principles designed to govern land use planning in England. The NPPF outlines the government’s commitment to sustainable development and provides a planning authority with a framework to guide its planning decisions.

First introduced in 2012, the NPPF has undergone multiple revisions, with the most recent iteration published in 2019. The framework addresses various issues, including PPG flood risk planning, housing, infrastructure, the natural environment, and the economy. Get further details from the UK official website.

Environmental Agency (EA) Flood Risk Management Guidelines 

The UK Environment Agency (EA) offers comprehensive flood risk management guidance to local authorities, developers, and planners. This guidance encompasses various topics such as flood risk assessment, protection measures, and emergency planning. It also provides access to flood maps and data to support flood risk assessment and planning.

Additionally, It updates guidance regularly to keep it aligned with the latest research and developments in flood risk management. You can visit their website to learn more about the EA’s flood risk management guidance.

Case Study: A Successful Adaptation of Flood Risk Solutions

PPG Flood Risk Solutions in the UK has implemented an efficient flood defence system that offers reliable protection against extreme weather. Their sustainable approach to flood risk management has become a benchmark for the industry. Here is a successful example.

Bristol City Council: Hartcliffe Campus Development

Bristol City Council: Hartcliffe Campus Development

Bristol, a city located in the UK, has effectively implemented the PPG flood risk management guidelines to mitigate flood risks in their area. The city has employed various flood protection measures, such as SuDS and flood barriers. Additionally, Bristol collaborates with local communities to enhance awareness of floods and foster participation in flood preparedness and response initiatives.

As a result of its successful flood management strategies, the city received accolades, such as the EU’s Green Capital Award in 2015.
Please visit the city council’s website for further information on Bristol’s local flood management approaches.

Final Thoughts

In summary, PPG flood risk solutions offer the ultimate protection against flood damage throughout the UK. To effectively manage flood risk in their respective areas and reduce the potential impact of flooding on people and property, local authorities, developers, and planners should adhere to the guidelines and recommendations provided by the UK government and the Environment Agency. The Hartcliffe Campus development by Bristol City Council is a prime example of the successful implementation of PPG flood risk solutions, demonstrating their effectiveness.

By adopting these solutions, we can pave the way for a safer and more resilient future for everyone.

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Argemiro Rivera, <b>BEng(Hons) MSC CEng MICE MCIWEM C.WEM CEnv</b>
Argemiro Rivera, BEng(Hons) MSC CEng MICE MCIWEM C.WEM CEnv

Passion for Water, Flood Risk & Sustainability
I love to dig into complex flood risk and water engineering projects and deliver them. I focus on delivering reliable flood risk information to protect livelihoods and the environment.

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