Strategic flood risk assessment

Explains what a strategic flood risk assessment is, are Level 1 and Level 2 SFRA's 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 Development Framework 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.

Has the council prepared a Level 1 SFRA?

Yes. The Level 1 SFRA was approved by Cabinet on 19 January 2010 and formally signed off by the Environment Agency on 11 February 2010. The written report is available to download here along with the Maps, Figures and Appendices.

Environment Agency Flood Maps (external website)  

Main Report

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (Level 1) - Main Report (pdf 506kb opens in new window) 

Appendix A - SFRA Flood Maps

Map key to small maps (pdf 2.3mb opens in new window)

Has the council prepared a Level 2 SFRA?

Yes. The Goole Level 2 SFRA was approved by Cabinet on 5 July 2011. It also has the support of the Environment Agency. It has been prepared in accordance with national planning policy (PPS 25), enabling 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 (in a ‘1 in 200 year’ tidal flood event) using both current and future tide-level predictions, and defence breaches. Importantly, the Level 2 SFRA confirms that the Environment Agency is committed to maintaining and improving the town’s flood defences into the future, thus mitigating the risk of overtopping. The key residual risk to Goole therefore is the risk of a breach(es), which can never be fully eradicated. The principal SFRA maps are Figures N (Combined Breach Hazard) and O (Combined Breach Depths). These identify the relevant hazard classification for a site and appropriate design/mitigation measures. The Flood Risk Note for the Planning Application Process provides further guidance on how to use the Level 2 SFRA in preparing planning applications / site-specific flood risk assessments.

Level 2 SFRA - Goole (pdf 700kb opens in a new window) 

Breach Maps

Figure O - Combined breach depth map (pdf 11.0mb opens in a new window)

Figure N - Combined breach hazard map (pdf 13.8mb opens in a new window)  

Figure M - Rate of ingress map (pdf 493kb opens in a new window) 

Overtopping Maps

Figure A1 - Defence overtopping depth map (jpg 500kb opens in a new window)

Figure A2 - Defence overtopping hazard map (jpg 491kb opens in a new window)

Figure B1 - Defence overtopping depth map plus climate change (jpg 635kb opens in a new window)

Figure B2 - Defence overtopping hazard map plus climate change (jpg 589kb opens in a new window)

Is there any guidance available on how to use the SFRA and the application of the flood risk policy?

Yes. A note has been prepared to provide assistance to developers, applicants, and Local Planning Authority officers on how to use the council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and how to apply flood risk policy in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It aims to promote transparency and consistency in the approach East Riding of Yorkshire Council will take to applying the flood risk Sequential and Exception Tests. The note has been updated in 2017 to reflect the adoption of the East Riding Local Plan and to incorporate best practice.

Flood Risk guidance note (pdf 1mb opens in a new window)  

The note is not a formal supplementary planning document.

In addition to the above, the council has also prepared a planning note and standing advice on how sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) should be taken account of in new developments. The note provides guidance on how the Government's standards for SuDS and surface water drainage will apply in the East Riding. The note can be accessed on our design of surface water drainage systems page.

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.

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.