In the UK one in six properties is said to be in an area with a significant risk of flooding. Recent years have made the sight of properties, streets and whole towns submerged all too familiar. Whether the cause is climate change, over-development or poor land management, the impact on people is acute.
With more flooding set to feature in the future, we need to be more prepared. It’s an issue being discussed at government and local levels. But it’s also something individuals and businesses are having to consider more regularly. If you are aware of the potential risks you can be ready to deal with them. For this reason flood risk assessments are becoming more prevalent in the UK.
What is a flood risk assessment?
A flood risk assessment (also referred to as an FRA) is a full assessment and evaluation of the risks and likely consequences of flooding for a specific area of land, property or development. It considers the risks from all types of flooding and outlines measures that can be taken to minimise and manage the risks.
Causes of flooding include rivers overflowing, coastal areas where storms, heavy rains and rising sea levels all contribute, and general issues with surface water that has nowhere to go. Surface water and drainage problems are becoming more of an issue in the UK. It is important to understand that you do not need to be near the coast or a river to be at risk from flooding.
What are the main reasons for needing a flood risk assessment?
A flood risk assessment provides a measure of any risks you are under and potential strategies to manage these. The main reasons people seek FRAs are:
- To check the chances of flooding of land and property they are buying
- Because it is required in order to get insurance for land or property
- As a requirement or aid to obtain certain planning permissions
- As part of planning measures for sites on which to use renewable energy sources
A wide range of people seek FRAs including private clients and property purchasers, architects, planning consultants, developers, farmers, landowners and those involved in renewable energy.
How do I get a flood risk assessment done in the UK?
There are many businesses offering flood risk assessments in the UK and both non-professional and professional reports are available. We would always recommend using our highly experienced team of flood risk consultants. Flood risk assessments involve complex evaluations and the costs of not having an adequate report can be severe – from poor management of risks, rejected planning permissions or insurance policies, or you may even be considered negligent in the case of flooding.
What does a flood risk assessment involve?
Each report is unique and tailored to the particular land, property or development project it is assessing. This is why you need to use a professional who will know the key factors to consider for diverse projects and sites. It will consider full details of the location and surroundings using specific data and software, including topographic data and hydraulic modelling. It will look at the use and number of people who will be on the site, and how it will affect other properties and the local area and infrastructure. It will understand and respond to any necessary legislation and the changing requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Do I need to get a flood risk assessment done?
If you are purchasing new land or property, you may wish to have a FRA to fully understand the risks and the drainage solutions around – to get a full picture. However if you want to know if you need an assessment, this will depend firstly on whether your land, property or project is in a flood zone and secondly on what development you plan to do. FRAs are required for most developments within a flood zone or critical drainage area. The government has advice pages mapping the flood zones, and detailing what development requires an FRA.
If you are in any doubt as to whether you need a flood risk assessment then speak to one of our consultants today. Where it is required, it makes sense to get it done as early as possible in the process of any development or purchase. The information gained will allow for the most comprehensive planning and best use of financial resources. It can also help you to avoid frustrating delays and complications later.