Consultation in Wales on a new flood-risk
management strategy has just closed. Consultation on new guidance for flood-risk assessment and development planning is also just about to be opened. These are crucial times.

What’s occurring?

The Welsh Government has been consulting on its proposed eight-year strategy for Flood and coastal erosion management (FCERM), to replace the 2011 Strategy.

They will also shortly be issuing a consultation draft of their new guidance for flood risk assessments for development in Wales; a replacement for Technical Advice Note (TAN) 15: development and flood risk.

What’s proposed?

The new strategy (how flood risk is managed) and TAN15 guidance (planning requirements for development) have been updated in a coordinated way.

The strategy has five key areas of focus.

  1. Promoting natural flood management, green engineering and catchment approaches.
  2. Clarifying roles and responsibilities in managing risk and adapting the coastline.
  3. Improving mapping and communicating risk to help make better, more informed decisions and maximise the impact of investment.
  4. Emphasising partnership working and wider benefits.
  5. Preventing flood events by linking new planning advice and flood maps.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed that the updated TAN15 guidance will:

  • move to a risk-based approach from a precautionary approach
  • emphasise NRW’s Flood Map and remove the current Development Advice Map (DAM)
  • require development plans for key areas.

What will this mean for Wales?

Improving flood risk management will bring multiple benefits, and maximum value from different funding sources.

There should be opportunities for holistic working across sectors, and developers working with planners and flood risk management authorities to consider how flood risk management can be integrated with place making.

A strong policy stance will be taken against development in areas at greatest risk.

TAN15 will also provide greater flexibility to recognise that development behind a flood defence is more risky than development on the edge of a flood zone. Currently all proposed development within the 1 in 1,000-year flood zone is treated in the same way from a planning perspective.

Discrepancies between the DAM map and the NRW Flood Map will no longer cause confusion.

Currently confusion can result if the DAM has not been updated to reflect latest data and modelling contained in the NRW Flood Map.

The last word

Joined up thinking is essential to ensure sustainable development and thriving communities in Wales.

Wales’ largest urban conurbations lie within the coastal flood zone. Predicted sea-level rise due to climate change will place increasing flood-risk pressures on a significant population of Wales. We hope that the FCERM strategy and TAN15 updates will provide the building blocks for this future.