Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

Land Use and Flood Risk Management

Natural Flood Management Natural flood management is the alteration, restoration or use of landscape features to manage surface water in order to reduce flood risk. It can reduce erosion and benefit water quality, carbon storage and biodiversity. Natural flood management methods for development and redevelopment can be utilised to reduce flood risk to communities. The incorporation of blue green infrastructure and nature-based solutions in projects is encouraged. Natural flood riskmanagement relies on one, or a combination, of the following underlying mechanisms: • Storing water by using and maintaining the capacity of wetlands, ponds, ditches, channels and embanked reservoirs; • Increasing soil infiltration, potentially reducing surface runoff. Transpiration from plants and evaporation from soil can also manage water at source to reduce runoff; • Slowing water by increasing resistance to its flow, e.g. by planting floodplain or riverside woods.

The planning system plays a major role in land use and flood management and is central to the strategic flood risk management pillar of prevention. The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines 2009 sets out a framework for the assessment of flood risk at all stages in the planning process. The Guidelines identify that regional flood risk appraisal and management policy recommendations are necessary to set a regional policy framework for local planning decisions and policymaking. The Guidelines adopt a sequential approach based on avoidance, reduction and mitigation of risk.

The guiding principles are as follows:

• Avoid development in areas of risk, particularly on floodplains unless it can be justified on wider sustainability grounds and where risk can be reduced or managed; • Substitute less vulnerable uses where avoidance is not possible; • Mitigate and manage the risk where avoidance and substitution are not possible. The Guidelines also highlight the need to consider the impacts of climate change and the potential for increased flood risk through sea level rise and increased river flows following intense rainfall events. The Guidelines recommend a precautionary approach in which climate change adaptation and future proofing is considered for new and existing infrastructure including flood defence structures and works. It is critical for the long-term sustainable management of flood risk that planning decisions take full account of existing and potential future flood risk to avoid or minimise the creation of new flood risks that could arise through inappropriate future development.

RPO 114

Flood Risk Management Objectives It is an objective to: a. Ensure that the flood risk management objectives of the Flood Risk Management Plans are fully considered in the development of planning policy and decision-making by local authorities so that flood risk is a key driver in the identification of suitable locations for new development, considering the CFRAM flood maps and other flood maps as available. b. Ensure that developments in upland areas, such as wind farm developments, roadway construction, peatland drainage and forestry proposals, provide sufficient storm water attenuation to avoid the occurrence of river erosion or flooding downstream subject to hydrological and ground/peat stability assessments.

RPO 113

Floods Directive It is an objective to support, at a regional level, the implementation of the Floods Directive to manage flood risks. It is an objective to encourage collaboration between local authorities, the OPW and other relevant Departments and agencies to implement the recommendations of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme to ensure that flood risk management policies and infrastructure are progressively implemented.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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