The West London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow (hereinafter ‘the Boroughs’) have commissioned the production of a joint Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA). 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 provides consistency and clarity, and 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. The Boroughs have delivered the SFRA in an innovative format as a website (for the text content) and a web map (for the supporting flood risk information). This format allows for efficient update of content in the future and ensures that the best available information is presented in a dynamic format.
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 all sources of flood risk, reducing the risk of flooding to residents and buildings. This is required to provide an update to existing borough specific SFRAs, which were predominantly completed in 2008.
The website is broken down into six sections:
- Section 1 (Introduction) provides an overview of the purpose and objectives of the SFRA.
- Section 2 (Planning and Policy Framework) provides an overview of the relevant national, regional, sub-regional and local policies relating to flood risk and associated requirements.
- Section 3 (Sources and Assessment of Flood Risk) provides an overview of the flood risk from all sources across the study area, including climate change implications where this information is available. This is supported by a series of web maps to present the flood risk information.
- Section 4 (Flood Risk Assessment Guidance) provides guidance for undertaking Flood Risk Assessments (FRA) at the site specific and strategic levels. Borough-specific guidance is included where any key differences exist. This is supported by checklists to assist applicants in completing compliant submissions for Flood Risk Assessments and Drainage Strategies.
- Section 5 (Policy Recommendations) provides a set of recommended site-specific and strategic policies. These recommendations are based on the findings of this SFRA, which the Boroughs are advised to incorporate into future versions of their Local Plans and/or associated guidance documents. Any opportunities for improved strategic flood risk management methods, including possible funding mechanisms, to assist with Boroughs growth delivery requirements are also highlighted.
- Section 6 (Review and Next Step) provides a summary of the proposed update schedule for the SFRA (the technical content and the mapping). Recommendations for the need to conduct a Level 2 SFRA are also included based upon the findings of flood risk screening assessments of current borough site allocations.