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POS Supports Study of Flood Risk Preparedness of Local Authorities

Date: 27/2/2012

Authorities are to be checked as to the effectiveness of their  preparations for flood risk  in a changing climate.

The Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the Committee on Climate Change is an independent expert body set up to report to Parliament on the progress the UK is making to adapt to climate change.  The ASC is currently assessing how well the UK is preparing for flood risk in a changing climate and will report in July 2012. The ASC has recognised in previous reports that local authorities are one of the most important and influential organisations when it comes to adaptation to climate change, primarily through delivery of the land-use planning system.   The analysis for their next report will include an assessment as to how local planning authorities are accounting for flood risk, both now and in the future.

The ASC has commissioned two separate research projects to help with the assessment:

  • Arup: review of 42 local development plans across England to assess:
    • the preparation of Strategic Flood Risk Assessments; and
    • how site allocations have applied the sequential and exception tests in national planning policy guidance (PPS25).
  • HR Wallingford: developing indicators to monitor how flood risk is changing, including the take-up of measures that reduce risk.

42 local plans have been identified for the review from across England, with priority given to adopted plans (or those near to adoption) that include strategic allocations.   John Silvester, a Director of POS representing the LGA on the steering group for the study, said  "We all know that flooding is not something that can be avoided entirely but can be mitigated if sufficient measures are put in place. This study seeks to ascertain how effective planning authorities have been in taking on board both current and future flood risk  in the preparation of their local plans. The work will provide invaluable lessons for all LPAs."

The ASC is also keen to understand the current level of uptake of SuDS and property-level flood resistance and resilience (R&R) measures in new development.  As there is limited available data to robustly make this estimate at a national level HR Wallingford is to seek information from local planning authorities to estimate current uptake.  

David Thompson, who leads the analysis for the ASC, said "The Government's recently published Climate Change Risk Assessment found that flooding could cost the UK as much as £12billion a year by the 2080s compared to current average damages of £1.2billion.   The Committee's report in July 2012 will assess how well the UK is preparing for this risk". 

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