UK Planning Policy Ensure Appropriate Development in Flood Risk Areas

New planning policy was published today by the Government to help provide clarity for regional and local planners and other stakeholders on preventing and managing flood risk in new developments.

Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) strengthens and clarifies policy that flood risk should be taken into account at all stages of the planning process. It directs councils to avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding. It is published alongside a flooding Direction, which provides scope for greater scrutiny for major developments in flood risk areas.

PPS25 will:

  • ensure flood risk is taken into account at all stages in the planning process. All local planning authorities in England will have to consider Government policy and Environment Agency advice on minimising flood risk to new development;
  • avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding and direct development away from areas at highest risk;
  • help achieve a sustainable reduction in the risk from climate change to communities in the future through increased frequency and severity of flooding; and
  • provide focus for the joint working of local authorities, the Environment Agency and developers. Considering flood risk early offers clarity and will make the planning decision process more straight-forward.
    Lords Minister for Planning, Baroness Andrews said:

“Climate change is an issue which is becoming increasingly important across all communities. With around 10 per cent of English land area, housing stock and population already in flood risk areas, it is even more important that we develop a realistic strategy to make sure future development only takes place on suitable sites. But we must also ensure that existing communities can continue to develop and deliver much needed homes and services."

“Alongside the forthcoming PPS on Climate Change and the recently published PPS3 on Housing, PPS25 provides a comprehensive package of planning policy that will ensure sustainable development that adapts to the effects of climate change and help deliver the right type of homes in the right community for everyone”.

Climate Change and Environment Minister Ian Pearson said:

"The planning statement we've announced today will ensure that new homes and buildings are constructed in sensible locations at least risk of flooding. Climate change will increase the risk of flooding which is why we must prepare and adapt to these future threats now. The devastating impacts of flooding on people's lives can be reduced by taking intelligent planning decisions.

"The new PPS 25 will help ensure that the risks of flooding are built into local and regional development plans from the start. Taking account of flood risk at an early stage is a key element of our wider strategy of managing flood risk - but it is vital that this new guidance is properly applied and we will need to carefully monitor its effectiveness."

Also published today, alongside the Planning Policy Statement, is a Circular introducing a flooding Direction, which comes into effect on 1 January 2007.

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