We are the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) as defined by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009. As the LLFA we are required to develop a strategy to tackle local flood risk, involving flooding from surface water. We will achieve this by working with other organisations, such as the Environment Agency which has a strategic role for all flood risk matters across England and Wales.

2126 Flood Risk Mapping

For coastal flooding, flood risk areas are mapped to a 1 in 200 year event (Flood Zone 3) and a 1 in 1000 year event (Flood Zone 2). The requirement for us to understand future flood risk is identified in the Core Strategy. A flood mapping exercise has been carried out to 2126, 100 years after the end of the plan period. To find out if a site falls within these 2126 flood zones please contact us.

Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment

We have prepared a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA), as required of all local authorities in England by the Flood Risk Regulations (2009). The PFRA has been produced in accordance with national guidance but it should not be used on an individual household basis to measure flood risk. Further work will better inform flood risk at this level, but until that time the findings should not be used for insurance or other valuation purposes. The PFRA is a county-wide analysis which considers past flooding and possible future flooding from local flood sources such as:

  • surface water runoff
  • groundwater
  • ordinary watercourses
  • canals and small impounded reservoirs

It considers the consequences that these forms of flood risk might have to people, properties and the environment, including cultural heritage and ecology, and will help to develop a strategy to manage local flooding in Poole.

The Environment Agency

The Flood and Water Management Act gives the Environment Agency a strategic overview role for all forms of flooding and coastal erosion. They also have direct responsibility for the prevention, mitigation and remedying of flood damage for main rivers and coastal areas. For information about flooding from the sea, please refer to the Poole and Christchurch Bays Shoreline Management Plan 2.

Impact of the PFRA on insurance

The insurance industry will have access to the flood risk information produced as part of the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment, as will all members of the public, subject to certain restrictions. Insurers already have access to historic claims, models and commercial products similar to the Environment Agency's national surface water maps that show surface water flood risk information. They use this information to make decisions on risk in order to set premiums and excesses using a range of information.

The information in the PFRA is not suitable to assess risk to individual properties in all parts of the country in detail as we cannot know all details about all properties, for example how high the floor level is above ground level and how water might get into houses through doors, windows and airbricks. Insurers can therefore only use the information as a first stage in assessing the flood risk for a general location. The cost of insurance can vary according to the level of flood risk, market strategy by individual insurers and other factors, such as crime. For more information about flood risk and insurance, visit the Environment Agency website.

Revised Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Levels 1 and 2

As part of the evidence base supporting the new Local Plan for Poole, the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for the Borough has been updated (November 2017) and combined into a single document incorporating both Level 1 and 2 requirements. This has been undertaken in collaboration with the Environment Agency.

The Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) provides an assessment of the extent and nature of flood risk from all sources and takes into account sea level rise as a consequence of climate change. It assesses the different levels, extent and nature of flooding and flood risk in Poole, to assist with statutory land use planning. It identifies areas at risk of flooding and outlines methods to minimise and manage that risk.

Evidence has established that Poole cannot meet its identified need for housing on areas at low risk of flooding. A Level 2 SFRA is therefore required, as there is a specific need to carry out the Sequential Test in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), for sites allocated for development in the Twin Sails regeneration area and the central area of Poole, areas at significant risk from current and future risk of flooding. The Exception Test has also been carried out for these sites. The Level 2 SFRA has been informed by a series of mapped climate change scenarios, incorporating predicted rises in sea level over time as a consequence of climate change, to determine the scale and nature of flooding over the period to 2133. Scenarios that include flood risk mitigation in the form of necessary strategic flood defences have also been produced.

Sequential Test

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires the Sequential Test to be undertaken for new developments proposed in areas at higher risk of flooding. In accordance with Paragraph 158 of the NPPF (July 2018), the SFRA should be the basis for applying the Sequential Test. The updated Level 2 section of the SFRA provides details of the revised study area boundary for application of the Sequential Test. The study area includes those parts of central Poole which have been identified for growth and regeneration and within which strategic development sites will require flood defences. The sites located within the study area will not need to meet the NPPF Sequential Test requirements.

The Council has produced a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment which identifies a deliverable five year supply of housing from sites within the town centre and parts of the borough in Flood Zone 1 (low flood risk). Given this, development proposals for a net increase in dwellings in areas of current and future flood risk, are unlikely to be able to meet the tests set out in the NPPF, particularly the sequential approachc to site selection. Such development proposals are therefore likely to result in a refusal of planning permission.

Flood Risk Management Strategy

The Flood Risk Management Strategy (published January 2011) was produced for us by Royal Haskoning, in consultation with the Environment Agency. It is a strategic review of flood risk to 100 years beyond the end of the Core Strategy (2126). The purpose is to provide a robust and defendable long term framework to inform decisions on flood risk issues relating to planning policy. In this way the continued development of key sites in the borough can help in the approach of obtaining contributions towards future improved flood defences. The final report is accompanied by a number of appendices:

Poole's Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

In 2010 the government introduce the flood and water management act. This followed national flooding caused by surface water after extreme rain storms in 2007, which affected over 55,000 homes and businesses across the UK.

It acknowledged flooding as a natural event that will sometimes occur despite everyone's efforts to prevent it. The act requires every county or unitary authority to be a lead local flood authority and develop a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, to take strategic responsibility for managing local flood risk.

Report flooding

Make a report for flooding on:

Contact details


01202 633321

Growth and Infrastructure
Civic Centre
BH15 2RU 

Page last updated: 07 November 2018
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