Waveney Local Plan

Flood Risk

8.124 Flood risk is a significant issue in Waveney. Within Waveney there are approximately 3,900 properties that fall within a flood zone as recognised by the Environment Agency. Of these, 73% are within Lowestoft.

8.125 The National Planning Policy Framework seeks to mitigate the risk of flooding by restricting vulnerable new development within areas at risk from flooding. It does this by requiring development proposals in areas at risk from flooding to be subject to a sequential test where it has to be proven there are no suitable areas of land with a lesser risk of flooding and an exception test which identifies sustainability benefits of development and ensures the development is safe for its lifetime.

8.126 The Framework requires Local Planning Authorities to prepare a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment to inform the Local Plan. A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment was prepared in 2008 and identified areas at risk from flooding both now and in the future after taking climate change into account. Since the publication of the 2008 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, new flooding models have been prepared by the Environment Agency. As such the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment is now being updated to get the most up to date understanding of risk.

8.127 The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment should be used in assessing the flood risk of new development proposals.

8.128 The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment has been used in assessing potential sites for allocation in this Local Plan. The only sites at risk from flooding which have been allocated are those within Central Lowestoft where the regeneration needs of that area necessitate development within a flood zone. The policies allocating these sites require that they are safe from flooding. Furthermore, plans are in place for a strategic flood risk defence for Central Lowestoft which will significantly reduce the risk in these locations.

8.129 As the Local Plan has allocated more than sufficient land for housing, which is considered a more vulnerable use, there is limited justification for additional development proposals for housing in areas of flood risk. Therefore, residential developments which are not on allocated sites will not be permitted in areas identified as being at risk from flooding within the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. However, there may be occasions where there is a particular additional need for housing as identified through the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. In these situations, housing could be allocated on a site at risk from flooding providing it is demonstrated that there are no other available sites at a lower risk of flooding within the Neighbourhood Area and that there are sustainability benefits and that the development can be made safe for its lifetime. 

Policy WLP8.24 - Flood Risk

Development proposals should consider flooding from all sources and take in to account climate change. Proposals at risk of flooding (taking in to account impacts from climate change) should only be granted planning permission if it can be demonstrated that:

  • There are no available sites appropriate for the proposed use in areas with a lower probability of flooding;
  • The development provides sustainability benefits which outweigh flood risk; and
  • An appropriate site specific flood risk assessment has been submitted which demonstrates that the flood risk can be satisfactorily mitigated over the lifetime of the development. This should address as a minimum: finished floor levels; safe access and egress; an emergency flood plan; flood resilience/resistance measures; any increase in built or surfaced area; and any impact on flooding elsewhere.
  • New residential development on sites not allocated in this Local Plan or a Neighbourhood Plan will not be permitted on sites at risk from flooding.
  • Neighbourhood Plans can allocate land for development, including residential development, in areas at risk of flooding providing it can be demonstrated:
  • There are no available sites appropriate for the proposed use within the Neighbourhood Area;
  • The development provides sustainability benefits which outweigh flood risk; and
  • Evidence is provided that it is possible for flood risk to be mitigated to ensure development is safe for its lifetime.
  • The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment should be the starting point in assessing whether a proposal is at risk from flooding.