flood map

Understanding the Environment Agency Flood Map

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Whether you live in a rural or built up area, your housing or accommodation can still be at risk of flooding. Below are some tips and advice on how to understand and use the Environment Agency Flood Risk Map. You will also find information on the different types of flood risk, and help on what to do after a flood, should the worst happen to you.

By definition, a flood risk combines both potential and probable influences of flooding for all sources in one area. These include the sea, rivers, via rainfall and via drainage systems. .

Environment Agency Flood Risk Map

The flood risk map was set up by the UK government in order to find the flood risk of your current location, or any location you wish to research. When using this service, you will first need to type in your postcode, or the postcode of an area you would like to check. Don’t worry if you don’t the location exactly accurate, you can move a marker to your desired location on the next page. Once you have done this, you will be able to see what “flood zone” your location falls under.

flood map for planning
How to use the Environment Agency Flood Map

If you live in an area which falls under Flood Map Zone 1, you will be happy to know that the chances of flooding within one year is 1 in 1000. Areas in zone 1 are shown as white or clear on the flood zone map. These areas are more likely to be approved for building and are advisable areas to move to.

Environment Agency Flood Map Zones 2 and 3

When looking at the Floop Map, zones 2 and 3 are shown respectively as light and dark blue in colour. Areas on the flood map that fall within zone 2 will have a 1 in 100 chance of flooding throughout the calendar year. Flooding can occur from rivers or sea, and planning permission will need to be reviewed by the government before being approved.

Zone 3 is split into 3a and 3b. Living in 3a means that you are at a higher risk of annual flooding, and is known as the High Probability section of zone 3. 3b of Zone 3 is known as a Functional Floodplain area. This means that during times of flooding, this area will allow water to flow freely and be stored safely until flooding has ceased.

Although zones 3a and 3b are not distinguished on the map, you will be able to see which area you fall under via the information shown besides the map.

flood map for planning 2

If an area of land is within flood zone 2 or 3, a flood risk activity permit will be needed in order to acquire planning permission. These can be obtained from the government website. If you do not carry out a flood risk assessment on an area of land that falls within zone 3, any planning permission you put forward may not be granted.

If you live in flood zone 2 or 3, it might be a good idea to sign up for flood warnings. This service is free and means you will be notified of a potential flood if and when it ever happens. If you’re moving home, and your new house sits within a flood zone, you can check its flooding history by emailing enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk with the following details:

  • Your phone number
  • A map of your area (this can be via the flood map government website, or via Google Maps – whichever you prefer)
  • Over what time you want the report to cover (i.e within the last year)
  • The address of the property

Environment Agency Wales Flood Maps

If you live in Wales, you can still use the government flood risk services above, or visit the Natural Resources Wales dedicated website. On this site, you can check the water levels, see if there are any flood warnings in your area, receive information on long-term flood risks, and find local information for what to do during a flood.

flood map for planning 3 wales

Getting help after a flood

No matter the zone or area you live in, you can find that flooding can happen at any time. If you find yourself in the middle of a flood, you can ask for advice and help via The National Flood Forum. Via this website you can also report a flood as it happens, report an electrical hazard (such as power cuts, or broken lines), report gas leaks as a result of a flood, or report an overflowing sewer.

If you need temporary accommodation, you can contact your local council.

If you have prepared of a flood accordingly, you will need to dispose of sandbags at your local rubbish site, and must put non-pollutable items directly in the bin. You can also find more help on the government website on what to do after a flood.