Flood and Water Management Act
Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment
On 22 December 2011, Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments (PFRAs) were made available to the public through the Environment Agency Wales web site portal. For the first time, an assessment of local flood risk has been produced by all 174 Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) in England and Wales. They fulfil statutory requirements under the EU Floods Directive, which is implemented in England and Wales by the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 (the Regulations). They will be used to inform decision-making and enable targeted action by local authorities.
What is a PFRA?
A PFRA is a high-level assessment of local flood risk, involving the collection and reporting of information on past (historic) and future (potential) floods to identify where the risk of flooding may be an issue within a LLFA area. In addition, information in the PFRA is used to confirm Flood Risk Areas - areas where flood risk is a significant issue and the next stages of the EU Floods Directive apply.
PFRAs only cover local sources of flood risk i.e. flooding from ordinary watercourses (small rivers, streams and ditches), surface runoff and ground water. They do not include flood risk from main rivers, the sea and reservoirs, as these sources of flooding are the responsibility of the Environment Agency. However they do consider interactions with all potential sources of flooding where appropriate.
Why are PFRAs important?
PFRAs provide a comprehensive assessment of flood risk from local sources across all of England and Wales for the first time. They will be used to provide the evidence base for LLFAs to develop their local flood risk management strategies which are required under the Flood and Water Management Act.
Who has been involved in producing PFRAs?
LLFAs were responsible for developing PFRAs. Responsibilities under the Regulations are consistent with the Flood and Water Management Act, which gives local authorities a role to co-ordinate the management of local sources of flood risk.
How were Flood Risk Areas identified?
Defra and Welsh Government issued guidance on a method for selecting and reviewing Flood Risk Areas which included setting criteria and thresholds. The thresholds were determined by Ministers
There are ten 'indicative Flood Risk Areas in England covering approximately a third of properties at risk of surface water flooding in England with Eight identified in Wales covering approximately 40 per cent of properties at risk of surface water flooding in Wales.
What happens next?
For LLFAs in Flood Risk Areas, hazard and risk maps will be prepared and submitted to the Environment Agency by June 2013 with flood risk management plans following by June 2015.
Working with the Welsh Government, and its LLFA partners the Environment Agency has agreed to produce surface water hazard and risk maps to meet the requirements of the Regulations for all of Wales.
For LLFAs not in Flood Risk Area there are no further statutory outputs required under the Regulations until the next cycle begins in 2016. LLFAs will however set out in their local flood risk management strategy required under the Flood and Water Management Act, how they intend to manage the flood risks identified by their PFRAs.
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