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Emergency flood planning

Advice and guidance when emergency flood planning must be undertaken as part of a planning application and included as part of a flood risk assessment. As well as providing guidance on how to demonstrate emergency flood planning which has been completed and satisfy Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) requirements.


Emergency flood planning must be considered as part of a planning application. This is to ensure that suitable procedures are in place to safeguard occupants and/or users of the property and the wider site in the event of flooding from rivers (fluvial) or surface water (pluvial). The procedures must be appropriate to the scale, nature and type of development.

Emergency flood planning requests are made in accordance with National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) paragraph 057 Reference ID 7-057-20140306

When will emergency flood planning be required?

Any planning application for a proposed development with a vulnerability classification of “More Vulnerable”, “Highly Vulnerable” or “Essential Infrastructure”, that is located within flood zones 2 and 3, is required to consider emergency flood planning. As part of the planning application process the LLFA, will be consulted and will advise whether the proposed emergency flood planning is acceptable. This will vary in scope and scale dependant on the nature of the development proposed and its location. In producing advice for each application, the LLFA will work with our emergency management department.

Emergency flood planning guidance

For most developments, the information required for emergency flood planning will need to:

The points outlined above, must be clearly presented as part of the flood risk assessment.

In some cases - where there is significant flood risk - the LLFA will request that an emergency flood plan be completed as part of a flood risk assessment.

What must an emergency flood plan include?

An emergency flood plan can be a standalone document, or it can form a component of a flood risk assessment. Where an emergency flood plan is required, it must include the following as a minimum:

  1. Details of the flood risk posed to the site and the reasoning for an emergency flood plan.
  2. Safe access and egress routes from the property and site - describing the safety of the access and egress route using the Hierarchy [13.3] and the UK flood hazard rating [13.7], in accordance with the appropriate approach [13.4] as outlined in Environment Agency’s: Flood Risk Assessment Guidance For New Development (FD2320/TR2) [Section 13; Requirements for safe access and exits]. To be considered a safe access and egress route, it must align with a ‘low’ hazard rating (depths of less than 0.25m and velocities of less than 0.5m/s) [Table 13.1].
  3. Define the areas of safe refuge for residents and/or users of the development to use if safe access and egress is not possible.
  4. Define how flood resilience measures incorporated into the development are to be managed and maintained throughout their lifespan, as well as how they are to be operated in the event of a flood and the person/organisation responsible for their operation.
  5. Location of utility meters and stop taps and procedure for turning off (electricity, gas and water).
  6. Define how any vehicles on site are to be relocated to areas of lower risk in the event of a flood, so as not to cause a hazard to surrounding infrastructure.
  7. Include provision for the signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service and the Met Office severe weather warnings email alert service – where available for the site.
  8. The evacuation procedure, including activation and call off.
  9. Assembly points (if applicable) – position of assembly points on layout plan, colour and image of sign.
  • The procedure for starting and stopping the emergency flood plan.
  • Outline how the site will be reoccupied and made safe after a flood event.
  • Responsible person/organisation for implementing flood plan (risk owner).
  • How the emergency flood plan will be stored, how it can be accessed by residents, employees or suitable 3rd party’s (local authorities, emergency services etc.) and how it can be obtained (downloaded or physical copy). 
  • Testing of the emergency flood plan – overview of testing procedure, frequency and training required.
  • Procedure for updating emergency flood plan – review period, amendment and version control.
  • Emergency contact details – emergency services (999), utility providers (gas, electricity and water) etc.

The Environment Agency have created a series of emergency flood plan templates, which are linked at the top of this page. It is recommended that the most appropriate template is selected, based on the scale and nature of the proposed development. 

The principles of the emergency flood plan can be agreed with the LLFA at the full planning stage, with the completed emergency flood plan secured through planning condition. An emergency flood plan is a live document, which must be regularly tested, reviewed and updated. It is the sole responsibility of the risk owner (proprietor, leaseholder, business owner etc.) to ensure this process is completed upon planning application approval.

Our Emergency Management Department will be consulted to provide feedback and guidance on the content, structure and appropriateness of any emergency flood plan submitted.

Special attention

Special attention will be given to the following types of development as these are extremely susceptible to the impacts of flooding:

  • Annexes, which are standalone but dependant on an adjacent household
  • Ground floor and basement dwellings, whether temporary or permanent
  • Residential institutions, including extra care facilities, sheltered accommodation, care homes, community care elements, boarding schools and residential colleges. Scale and appropriateness of emergency flood planning may depend on the care setting, whether it is specifically looking after mental, social, behavioural and physical wellbeing of patients or residents. 
  • Change of use developments from commercial/light industrial to residential (multiple occupancy).
  • Non–residential institutions, such as schools, colleges, creches, nurseries, education centres and training centres.
  • Hospitals and other medical buildings such as health centres and clinics, given the complex provision of care to patients and because emergency electricity generators are located on site - usually within the basement, which can be significantly impacted by flooding.
  • Temporary buildings and temporary buildings as part of a larger development. For example, as part of a larger school development, temporary modular buildings are used to provide additional temporary classroom space, which have a build life of 10 years. However, it is likely that these will continue to be used for a period greater than the lifespan, in some case two or three times the life span.
  • Sui generis development, in the form of waste disposals institutions, scrap yards and alkali works due to the possible pollution risks and technicalities regarding shut down of operation and evacuation during a flooding event.

Pre-application advice

We highly recommend that all applicants consider Applying for pre-application advice to identify planning requirements and provide guidance (including emergency flood planning) associated with an application. 


Emergency flood plans are the sole responsibility of the risk owner and Leicester City Council cannot accept any responsibility for any omission or error contained in any such plan, or for any loss, damage or inconvenience, which may result from such plan’s implementation. Leicester City Council will not be guaranteeing safety of occupiers and users of new developments by approving emergency flood plans.