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Surface water planning

Planning and flood risk

Local Planning Authorities have the overall responsibility for ensuring that new developments and redevelopments do not increase flood risk elsewhere and are located in the areas of lowest risk practicable. Local planning authorities should ensure that development proposals are informed by an appropriate flood risk assessment and that development is appropriately flood resistant and resilient. This is specified within in the  National Planning Policy Framework para 103. The local planning authority also has the responsibility to give priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems.

Local planning authorities are responsible for preparing Local Plans for their areas that set out strategic priorities for their areas. Details of the Local Plans relevant to Dorset can be found within the  Planning, buildings and land section. The Local Plans are supported by evidence including Strategic Flood Risk Assessments.

Local communities can develop Neighbourhood Plans, which may set out planning policies for their local areas. A Neighbourhood Plan may set out planning policies for the local area but should be in line with the strategic policies of the adopted Local Development Framework. Neighbourhood Plans will become part of the Local Development Framework and will form the basis for determining planning applications in that area.

Flood risk planning consultations

The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee on certain development proposals. There is standard advice of the Environment Agency's website which explains what proposals they want to be consulted on. This helps steer the applicant to the appropriate level of detail required for a Flood Risk Assessment.

Dorset County Council as a lead local flood authority is a statutory planning consultee on the management of surface water drainage to major developments of ten or more houses and commercial development of floor space greater than 1000m2 or sites larger than 1Ha.

In the written statement to Parliament the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP stated:

In considering planning applications, local planning authorities should consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water, satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for on-going maintenance over the lifetime of the development.

The sustainable drainage system should be designed to ensure that the maintenance and operation requirements are economically proportionate.

Surface water management proposal requirements

All major developments will require a surface water management proposal which may be incorporated within a Flood Risk Assessment. National Standards for sustainable drainage systemsshould be followed. For advice on what to submit please see Dorset County Council's  Surface Water Management Proposal Information Requirements.

If you require further advice please contact Dorset Direct on 01305 221000 and ask to speak to a member of the Flood Risk Management Team.

Surface water management planning advice

We offer a charged service for providing detailed planning advice, which is provided through an agreement between a developer and Dorset County Council.

Dorset County Council actively encourages all applicants to discuss their proposal with the Flood Risk Management team before submitting a planning application to the local planning authority. An awareness of local flooding mechanisms and expectations will result in a better chance of a successful outcome and help to speed up the decision-making process after submission.

See our  planning advice information sheet for further information and charging arrangements.

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