Skip to main content

Flood Risk Management and Sustainable Drainage

Surface Water Flood Management

Through the introduction of both European and UK legislation Dudley Council, like the majority of local authorities across the UK, is now identified as a lead local flood authority (LLFA).
This new role gives Dudley Council the responsibility of managing surface water flooding risk across the borough.

Sources of local flood risk include:

  • Groundwater flooding - caused when the water levels in the ground rise above the surface level mainly as a result of prolonged rainfall causing the ground to become saturated.

  • Surface water (rainfall) runoff - when water flowing over surfaces that cannot easily absorb water, such as roads and roofs, overwhelms the drainage network and accumulates on the surface.

  • Ordinary watercourses - when any watercourse which is not classed as a main river such as a culvert or stream, cannot cope with large volumes of water during or after heavy rain.

Flood risks from main rivers or reservoirs remain the responsibility of the Environment Agency and not that of the LLFA.

Locally Agreed Surface Water Information

The legislation requires the council to assess the risk of surface water flooding in any area of the borough and develop and formally adopt what is known as locally agreed surface water information.

Surface water refers primarily to surface run-off, groundwater and ordinary watercourses. It does not directly consider flooding from main rivers.

The locally agreed surface water information consists of a preliminary flood risk assessment (PFRA) report and surface water flood map for the borough.

The director of the urban environment, cabinet member for transportation and the council’s select committee on the environment endorse this document and understand the roles and responsibilities of the council as lead local flood authority

The PFRA is a high level screening exercise which involves collecting information on past (historic) and future (potential) floods, assembling it into a preliminary assessment report, and using it to identify flood risk areas where the risk of flooding is significant.

The map and associated information is intended for guidance, and cannot provide details for individual properties. Dudley Council, along with many other local authorities, has decided the locally agreed surface water map information is to be based on the adoption of the Environment Agency’s flood maps for surface water.

In 2013 the Environment Agency, working with Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs), produced the updated Flood Map for Surface Water (uFMfSW).

The updated flood maps replace the Surface Water Maps included in the Council’s Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) produced in 2011.

The uFMfSW maps include information on flood extents, depths and velocity (speed and direction).

The uFMfSW maps can be viewed on the Risk of Flooding from Surface Water map on the Environment Agency website. It is available alongside maps showing the risk from other sources of flooding, including the Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea map, the Risk of Flooding from Reservoirs map. This will help provide a consistent understanding of flood risk across all sources of flooding. The Flood Map for Planning (Rivers and Sea) contains Flood Zones, which are used for land use planning.

The uFMfSW will now represent the Council’s Locally Agreed Surface Water Information as defined in the Council’s PFRA

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

In addition to developing Locally Agreed Surface Water Information LLFA’s are required to develop, maintain, implement and monitor a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

The Strategy should outline the LLFAs approach to local flood risk management, to reduce the risk of flooding to communities, both now and in the future, and is a key requirement of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

The Strategy must specify:
(a) The objectives for managing local flood risk (including any objectives included in the authority's flood risk management plan prepared in accordance with the Flood Risk Regulations 2009),
(b) The measures proposed to achieve those objectives,
(c) How and when the measures are expected to be implemented,
(d) The costs and benefits of those measures, and how they are to be paid for,
(e) The assessment of local flood risk for the purpose of the strategy,
(f) How and when the strategy is to be reviewed, and
(g) How the strategy contributes to the achievement of wider environmental objectives.

In addition to meeting the above requirements, the Strategy must be consistent with the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, approved by Parliament in July 2011.

The four Black Country authorities of Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton have worked together to produce a Black Country Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. Following a public consultation process the Strategy received formal approval by each authority in February 2016.

Sustainable drainage systems and the planning process

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government delivered a written ministerial statement on the implementation of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in parliament on 18 December 2014. The statement made changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which in turn made SuDS a material consideration in the determination of planning applications for major developments. These changes came into effect on 6 April 2015.

Alongside the changes to NPPF the Town and County Planning (Development Management procedure) (England) Order was amended making Dudley Council, in its role as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), a statutory consultee in the planning process for major development proposals which have surface water implications, starting from 15 April 2015.

Consequently, developers need to provide SuDS on major developments where appropriate, while paying due regard to the following:


Major developments

A 'major' planning application is defined in Part 1(2) of The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.

“Major development” means development involving one or more of the following:

  • Residential - 10+ dwellings or on a site of 0.5Hectare and over

  • Office/light industrial - 1000+ sq m or on a site of 1+ hectare

  • General industrial - 1000+ sq m or on a site of 1+ hectare

  • Retail - 1000+ sq m or on a site of 1+ hectare


Pre-application advice

Dudley Council encourages prospective developers to first contact the local planning authority to determine whether your development proposal is acceptable in principle and on a planning policy basis.

Dudley Council is in the process of developing SuDS guidance and a SuDS Handbook. In the meantime developers are directed to:

Surface water flood risk and sustainable drainage systems (pdf)

Surface water drainage flood risk and SuDS pro-forma (pdf)

Please check this webpage regularly for updates

Other Related Responsibilities

  • Maintain a register of assets (physical features that have a significant effect on flooding in the local area) and identify those responsible for them.

  • Investigate significant local flooding incidents and publish the results of such investigations.

  • Dudley Council in its role as Lead Local Flood Risk Authority (LLFA) is now a formal Consultee on major development site planning applications for Flood risk related matters and Sustainable drainage (SuDS)

  • Issue consents for altering, removing or replacing certain structures or features that may affect the flow of ordinary watercourses.

LLFAs also have the powers to:

  • Request information regarding flooding from any organisation or person.

  • Undertake works to manage and prevent surface water and groundwater flooding.

  • Designate structures and features that affect flooding and coastal erosion

Contingency And Disaster Flood Management

Dudley Council’s Contingency and Disaster Management Team have produced a Multi-Agency Flood Response Plan which details the arrangements to respond to major flood emergencies.
This plan aims to:

  • Identify types of flood risk in Dudley

  • Outline activation procedures for the emergency response to flooding

  • Agree areas of responsibility between organisations

National Flood Forum

The National Flood Forum is a national charity dedicated to supporting and representing communities and individuals at risk of flooding. We do this by:

  • Helping people to prepare for flooding in order to prevent it or mitigate its impacts
  • Helping people to recover their lives once they have been flooded
  • Campaigning on behalf of flood risk communities and working with government and agencies to ensure that they develop a community perspective.

Further advice

For advice on Flood Risk Management please contact using the details below.

Contact Details

  • Name Civil Engineering, Environmental Management
  • Address Directorate of the Urban Environment, Lister Road Depot, Lister Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 8JW
  • Opening Hours Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, Please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays