The National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) accompanying Flood Risk and Coastal Change Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) highlights the role of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to utilise a risk-based approach to understand and manage flood risk from all sources. This includes the risks to and from surrounding areas in the same flood catchment. As a result, LPAs are required to produce Strategic Flood Risk Assessments (SFRA) to inform the preparation of Local Plans. The PPG defines a SFRA as:
“a study carried out by one or more LPAs to assess the risk to an area from flooding from all sources, now and in the future, taking account of the impacts of climate change, and to assess the impact that land use changes and development in the area will have on flood risk.”
The West London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow (hereinafter ‘the Boroughs’) have commissioned the production of a joint Level 1 SFRA. The overarching aim of this SFRA is to provide the evidence base for ensuring development is steered away from areas identified most at risk from various flood sources, reducing the risk of flooding to its residents and buildings. This review is required to provide an update to existing borough specific SFRAs, which were predominantly completed in 2008.The Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Drain London Project grouped the six boroughs together, as Groups 1 and 2. From this grouping, the Boroughs have since formed the North West London Flood Risk Management Strategic Partnership group. The group aims to provide the Boroughs with the platform to deliver their Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) requirements of the Flood & Water Management Act (FMWA) 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations (FRR) 2009. The group has representation on the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC), a committee established by the EA to promote joined up thinking and actions to manage flood risk throughout the Thames catchment area and administer relevant funding streams.
The combined area features several cross-boundary Environment Agency-designated Main Rivers, including the Dollis Brook, Duke of Northumberland’s River, River Brent, River Crane, River Colne, River Lee, River Pinn, River Thames and Yeading Brook. These rivers cross boroughs that make up six of the seven local authorities that form the West London Alliance (WLA). Due to these established associations, groupings, and shared borough boundaries, a joint SFRA is beneficial for all Boroughs. This document and mapping will provide consistency and clarity, and will enable sign-posting to common policies and requirements. A joint SFRA also enables the identification of potential improvements which the Boroughs are recommended to adopt and enforce through their future Local Plans to improve local flood risk whilst promoting sustainable development.