Understanding Flood Risk Assessments

Monday 15 April 2024

A Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is an essential part of the planning and development process that is used to evaluate the potential risk of flooding to a specific area or site. In this blog, we’ll be running through what an FRA is and what it involves, when they’re needed and the preparation of them.

What Does an FRA Involve?

An FRA involves assessing the risk of flooding from various sources such as rivers and the sea, surface water, reservoirs, groundwater, and even overwhelmed sewers. It's not just about identifying the risk, but also about understanding the potential causes and mechanisms of flooding and how to manage these risks over the full lifetime of the development. An FRA looks to assess:

  • The risk and impact of flooding to the site.
  • The potential impacts of climate change over the development's lifetime.
  • How flooding could be mitigated.
  • The safety of the proposed development and its users over the development's entire lifetime.
  • The impacts of the proposed development on flood risk elsewhere.

When is an FRA Needed?

If you're applying for planning permission, you may need to carry out an FRA for your proposed development. The need for an FRA depends on the location and scale of the development site and the vulnerability of the future users of the site to different sources of flooding. For example, proposed developments within Flood Zones 2 and 3, or areas identified as having critical drainage problems, require an FRA. Without an FRA, planning applications submitted in these locations may not even be validated.

Who Prepares an FRA?

Typically, a flood risk professional undertakes the FRA. If you're unsure, it's always best to seek advice. An FRA is an important part of the planning process and it is essential that, if required, it is prepared properly. Here at PFA consulting, we can help with this. We have a dedicated team of Flood Risk and Water Management professionals that have expert knowledge of flood risk and all that comes with it.


In a world where climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of flooding, FRAs are more important than ever. They help us understand and manage flood risks, ensuring that our developments are safe, sustainable, and resilient. If you need more information and / or advice regarding flood risk and water management, get in contact with our specialist team:


T: 01793 828000