Making the most of your FRA consultation

December 13, 20160 Comments

Find out what makes a good flood risk assessment, and see how you can get the most from your consultation with Ambiental.

Do I need a Flood Risk Assessment?

If you’re looking to purchase land for development, you may be required by national planning policy to produce evidence of a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA)*. Since the introduction of PPS25 (now formally the NPPF) in 2006, Ambiental has built on nine years of experience, working across the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and our knowledgeable consultants will act as a single point of contact, to guide clients through the complete FRA process.

The resulting flood risk assessment report will demonstrate to planning officers, and national environmental governing bodies, how the development will be safely constructed, minimising flood risk elsewhere and mitigating floodwater. The assessments outline how factors such as groundwater, surface water and sewer flooding can be mitigated against; and make planners aware of both present day and future flood levels, taking into account the effect of changing factors such as climate change.

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In the UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, any sites located within an area deemed likely to flood are required to produce an FRA* prior to development. Additionally, any sites larger than one hectare, or 10,000 square meters, and located in the lower flood risk areas must also produce a flood risk assessment. It is important to note that if any part of the proposed development, even an area with no planned structural work, lies within the flood zone; an FRA for the entire site must still be produced.

Why should I choose Ambiental?

As the majority of Ambiental’s FRA projects are associated with construction, consultants have experience working on a diverse range of developments; from supermarkets and industrial sites, to infrastructure and residential developments of all sizes.

In addition to mandatory FRAs, Ambiental also offers due diligence services to clients engaging in large-scale developments. This allows clients to better their understanding of the future implications associated with the land, and find out how best to mitigate against any issues at an early stage, reducing overall project costs, and streamlining the early stages of development. By adopting this approach, clients will no longer have to request costly amended drawings from their architects to accommodate flood storage, or delay development while changes feed into a wider planning team.

What constitutes a good FRA?

A good flood risk assessment will result in a detailed analysis of proposed development plans, taking into account changes in level, and any structures that may inhibit flood water flow. This will then be combined with information on both primary and secondary sources of flooding – which includes dam and flood defence breaches, canals and excess groundwater, as well as tidal and fluvial flooding.

Ambiental has additional precision modelling available to all clients in the form of UKFloodMap™, a technology that allows the comparison of a vast amount of data, both from environmental governing bodies and in-house modelling. This ensures that flood risk assessment reports are tailored specifically for each client, while complying with all environmental body and planning authority guidelines. Primarily, UKFloodMap™ supports the client in the early stages of a project to better understand the flood risks on site, and the potential mitigation measures that may be required by local policy. Application of UKFloodMap™ to planning applications can also support developments that are located in areas of limited flood modelling.

To aid the success and development of an FRA, Ambiental staff have a wide and diverse knowledge base, and maintain an excellent relationship with governing bodies and local planning authorities.

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What can I do to get the most from my FRA consultation?

In order to produce the best quality FRA, it is essential that Ambiental can gather a clear understanding of the proposed development. Informing your consultant of any communications you have had with local planning authorities or environment agencies during the early planning or pre-application stages will allow Ambiental to ensure that any special requirements, outside of the standard criteria, are adhered to.

In addition to this, providing existing site location plans, including street names, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, or other bodies of water; and other geographical features such as local landmarks or railway lines, detailed proposed development plans and soil infiltration tests will all support the assessment and expedite the production of your FRA. Floor plans of proposed developments in particular give a much greater understanding of risk to your consultant, highlighting vulnerable areas such as bedrooms, and flooding hotspots like basements. If readily available, a topographical survey will greatly benefit consultants to understand finished floor heights. However, as Ambiental specialises in national and internal flood modelling, there is an large source of in house data to support your flood risk assessment, such as flood risk tool UKFloodMap™, LiDAR (to provide topographic data), EA flood maps, and GIS software to represent modelled flood levels across your site, highlighting those areas most at risk.

Contact our team for advice

You can read more about our UKFloodMap™ system here, and for further information and useful links regarding national policy, please visit our FRA guidance page.

Alternatively you can speak to one of our flood risk consultants about your requirements. Call us now on 0203 857 8540 or email fra@ambiental.co.uk

*Flood Consequence Assessment (FCA) in Wales

Filed in: Flood risk consultancyFRA NewsLatest News

About the Author ()

Daniel Cook is a Senior Flood Risk Consultant at Ambiental and is involved in all aspects of FRA consultancy including account management, proposals, project management and producing the reports.

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