Policy paper

Flood risk planning cycles

How the Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities manage flood risk by following a 6 year cycle of planning.


Map of flood risk areas in England for the planning cycle from 2009 to 2015

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The Environment Agency is responsible for managing flood risk from main rivers, the sea and reservoirs. Lead local flood authorities, unitary authorities or county councils, are responsible for local sources of flood risk, in particular surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

To manage flood risk both the Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities must follow a 6 year cycle of planning. The planning stages are:

  • complete a preliminary flood risk assessment and identify flood risk areas
  • prepare flood risk maps and flood hazard maps for rivers, the sea, surface water, reservoirs
  • prepare flood risk management plans

Each stage is completed for all river basin districts in each cycle.

Additional information

Read the European Floods Directive and Flood Risk Regulations 2009.

Published 22 December 2011
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Preliminary flood risk assessments (PFRAs) have been reviewed and updated in 2017 by the lead local flood authorities (LLFAs)
  2. Updated to include information about the planning cycle from 2016 to 2021.
  3. First published.