Strategic flood risk assessment

Explains what a strategic flood risk assessment is, are Level 1 and Level 2 SFRAs prepared, guidance available and what is the sequential and exceptions test.

What is a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)?

A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, or SFRA, is part of the evidence base for the Local Plan and collates information on all known sources of flooding that may affect existing or future development within our area. Such sources include tidal, river, surface water (local drainage), sewers and groundwater.

In collecting this information, the SFRA identifies and maps areas that have a ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ probability of flooding within the East Riding, in accordance with national policy.

Within the flood affected areas, the SFRA recommends appropriate land uses that will not unduly place people or property at risk of flooding. Where flood risk has been identified as a potential constraint to future development, the SFRA recommends possible flood mitigation solutions that may be integrated into the design (by the developer) to minimise the risk to property and life should a flood occur.

The East Riding Flood Data Map contains information from the SFRA alongside Environment Agency Web Map Services. The interactive map offers more flexibility to users, however for technical reasons some of the icons and colours on the map do not exactly match those in the paper copies. Please refer to the appropriate legend for each feature.

A Supplementary Planning Document on Flood Risk Sequential and Exception Test has also been prepared to help applicants for development through the policy tests and available data.

Has the council prepared a Level 1 SFRA?

Yes. The Level 1 SFRA was approved by Cabinet on 26 November 2019. The written report is available to download here along with the Appendices.

Environment Agency Flood Maps (external website)

Main Report

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (Level 1) - Main Report (pdf 3.55mb)


Has the council prepared a Level 2 SFRA?

The council has undertaken Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessments for Goole and Hedon (2020). The Level 1 SFRA (2019) recommends a number of spatial planning and development management recommendations including the undertaking of more detailed ‘Level 2’ flood risk assessments in Goole and Hedon, which are considered to be at particular risk from flooding.

The Level 2 SFRAs were approved by Cabinet on 1 September 2020 and prepared in line with National Planning Practice Guidance and advice from the Environment Agency. The SFRAs allow the council and developers to take into account theoretical ‘worst case’ flooding scenarios when proposing/determining development. It maps ‘residual’ flood risks that could occur as a result defence overtopping using both current and future tide-level predictions, and defence breaches. The outputs of the SFRAs are a series of maps and recommendations tables that will need to be cross referenced to determine whether developments are appropriate on flood risk grounds. Recommendations include restricting certain types of development in some locations and appropriate design/mitigation measures.

The Flood Risk Note for the Planning Application Process will be updated in due course to provide further guidance on how to use the Level 2 SFRA in preparing planning applications/site-specific flood risk assessments.

Level 2 SFRA - Goole (pdf 6mb)

Level 2 SFRA - Hedon (pdf 21mb)

What is the Sequential Test?

The primary objective of planning policy in respect of flood risk, is to steer vulnerable development towards areas of lowest flood risk. The National Planning Policy Framework advocates a sequential approach that will guide the planning decision-making process (i.e. the allocation of sites). In simple terms, this requires planners to seek to allocate sites for future development within areas of lowest flood risk in the initial instance. Only if it can be demonstrated that there are no reasonably available sites within these areas should alternative sites (i.e. within areas that may potentially be at risk of flooding) be contemplated. This is referred to as the Sequential Test.

A Supplementary Planning Document on Flood Risk Sequential and Exception Test has been prepared to help applicants for development through the policy tests and available data.

What is the Exceptions Test?

Many towns within England are situated adjacent to rivers, and are at risk of flooding. The future sustainability of these communities relies heavily upon their ability to grow and prosper. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) recognises that, in some areas, including the East Riding, restricting residential development from areas designated as Zone 3a (High Probability) may compromise the viability of existing communities within the region.

For this reason, the NPPF provides an Exception Test. Where a local planning authority has identified that there is a strong planning based argument for a development to proceed following the application of the Sequential Test, it will be necessary for the Council to demonstrate that the Exception Test can be satisfied.

For the Exception Test to be passed:

  • it must be demonstrated that the development provides wider sustainability benefits to the community that outweigh flood risk, informed by a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment where one has been prepared; and
  • a site-specific flood risk assessment must demonstrate that the development will be safe for its lifetime taking account of the vulnerability of its users, without increasing flood risk elsewhere, and, where possible, will reduce flood risk overall.

A Supplementary Planning Document on Flood Risk Sequential and Exception Test has been prepared to help applicants for development through the policy tests and available data.

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