Flood Risk and Future Development
Risk of flooding is an important factor to be taken into account when planning a new development. Obviously the amount of risk varies from place to place. Areas that are most at risk have been identified by the Environment Agency [external link], who also provides guidance on flood-related issues and assesses the impact of new developments with respect to flood risk.
Flood Risk Zones
The Environment Agency has defined specific areas in England and Wales that are at risk and classified them as follows:
- Zone 3 - "Significant Risk"
- Zone 2 - "Moderate Risk"
The remainder, which may be ignored, is classed as low risk and labelled zone 1. Only zones 2 & 3 need to be considered relevant.
The bulk of the areas at risk consist of land in the immediate vicinity of watercourses. The actual distance that the zone extends away from a watercourse will depend on various factors. It is necessary to consult flood risk maps to determine whether or not a particular place is at risk.
Flood Risk Assessment
Planning authorities are obliged to consult with the Environment Agency when dealing with any planning application for a development in a flood risk zone. The Environment Agency specifies that a Flood Risk Assessment should accompany all such applications. This should be supplied by the applicant.
A Flood Risk Assessment may also be required for large developments outside of flood risk areas, if surface water drainage is seen as an issue. For developments over one hectare in area, it is normally mandatory.
Flood Risk in Darlington
The affected areas within the Darlington Borough are the areas in the immediate vicinity of rivers and becks. Affected built-up areas include the following:
- Piercebridge village;
- Neasham village;
- Part of Hurworth Place, near Croft Bridge, including Tees View and Linden Drive;
- An area around West Beck, near West Auckland Road, including Spring Court, George Stephenson Drive, Abbotsfield Way (and more);
- An area around the Cocker Beck at Cockerton Village, including Cockerton Green and part of Staindrop Road;
- Some of the area surrounding Brinkburn Dene, including Deneside Road, Bracken Road, part of Craig Street and Westbrook;
- Pierremont Crescent and part of Milbank Road;
- Riverside Way, part of Haughton Road, Blackett Road;
- The area surrounding the River Skerne through the town centre from John Street to the South Park.
The above list is only intended to be indicative and is by no means exhaustive. It is always necessary to consult a map to determine the extent of any "at risk" area.
Flood risk maps [external link] are available on the Environment Agency website.