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Flood risk management

Flood risk needs to be taken into account when planning for new development. Planning policy promotes development which will decrease the risk of flooding.

Where a proposed development is at risk from flooding, or could create a risk of flooding elsewhere, a flood risk assessment must be submitted with the planning application.

Fluvial flooding

Fluvial flood risk covers flooding from watercourses. Fluvial flooding is categorised under four flood zones: 

  • Zone 1 - Estimated less than 1 in 1000 year risk of flooding
  • Zone 2 - Between 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 year risk of flooding 
  • Zone 3a - Between 1 in 30 and 1 in 100 year risk of flooding 
  • Zone 3b - More than a 1 in 30 year risk of flooding.

Pluvial flooding   

Pluvial flooding is flooding that comes from surface water. There are two categories of pluvial flooding in Leicester: 

  • Hotspots - flooding of roads and low lying parts of gardens, and some dwellings
  • Critical drainage areas - areas which are unlikely to flood but where the rapid runoff of water leads to flooding in the hotspots.

Sustainable drainage systems

Sustainable drainage will contribute to lowering the city’s risk of flooding. It does this through a range of measure that slow down the rate at which water runs off across surfaces. It is the combined impact of surface water flows that leads to flooding. The city’s topography, soils and patterns of development make Leicester at a particular risk of flooding. So even if a development is proposed at the top of a hill it still needs to use sustainable drainage techniques to prevent their run off affecting others.

Development that can contribute to increased run off includes the construction of patios, shed bases, conservatories and footpaths. Anything that takes away open ground can make the problem worse.

Many landscape features help in slowing water run off; even grass slows down that rate of run off; allowing for some filtration and some water quality improvement. Trees are a very simple sustainable drainage feature. Their roots absorb water and help to create ground that water can seep into, and the tree intercepts rainfall and allows for water to evaporate back into the atmosphere.

Sustainable drainage systems mimic natural drainage systems. Compared with conventional drainage they typically have slower rates of water runoff and have other benefits such as providing a range of wildlife habitats, multi-use areas (typically combining drainage with play space), water quality, visual amenity, have low and simple maintenance requirements and pose less of a threat to safety.

More information is available in the document at the bottom of the page.

Paving your front garden

If you want to pave your front garden you need to take into account surface water runoff. Details of the rules are available on the Planning Portal website.

You may also need a dropped kerb. Further details are available on our dropped kerb page.

In some cases, particularly if the access is to a classified road, planning permission may be necessary. Further information and contact details are available on our Do I need planning permission page.

What information should I provide?

For some developments a sequential test and/or flood risk assessment is required. More information is available in the document below and at GOV.UK - flood risk assessments.

The flood zone maps produced by the Environment Agency are being updated soon. Please contact the Environment Agency for the most up-to-date information on flood risk. Older and basic versions of these maps are viewable on the constraints map. These will remain basic but will be updated soon. he Environment Agency has more detailed information that may well be needed for a flood risk assessment.

For all major developments the development must also comply with the Sustainable Drainage Systems- non-statutory technical standards. Please see the following:

Major developments are:

  1. the winning and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits;
  2. waste development;
  3. the provision of dwellinghouses where -
    1. the number of dwellinghouses to be provided is 10 or more; or
    2. the development is to be carried out on a site having an area of 0.5 hectares or more and it is not known whether the development falls within sub-paragraph (c) (i);
  4. the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more; or
  5. development carried out on a site having an area of 1 hectare or more.

A connection to the public sewerage network is the preferred method of foul drainage. For developments falling within the definition of a major development the Environment Agency will advise the Council. For development that does not fall with the definition of a major development please read the guidance note and then submit a completed form with your planning application.

Further information

Flood risk studies -  see our dedicated section.

The Environment Agency are consulted for certain types of planning applications. Details of when can be found on GOV.UK. They are not usually consulted for pre-application enquiries. If you wish to talk to them before making a planning application, please complete this form (Pre-application enquiry form) and send it to them.