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Cornwall Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)

New development should be sustainable and be located in sustainable locations. In flood risk terms, this means that development should be directed to areas at the lowest risk of flooding. Inappropriate development in flood risk areas should be avoided, to limit risk to people and property. It also means that new development should not make existing flood risk worse and should reduce existing overall flood risk where possible. It is therefore important that information about flood risk is available to planners and developers from early on in the planning process.

The Cornwall Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) provides a tool to assess the flood risk in Cornwall. The SFRA gives essential information for the allocation of land for development. It also provides information for planners and developers to manage development, to limit flood risk to people and property wherever possible and manage the risk elsewhere.  

A SFRA partnership project was set up to steer the production of the Cornwall SFRA. The partners that have been involved in the SFRA project are Cornwall Council (Strategic Policy, Hydrology, Natural Resources, Highways and Emergency Management), the Environment Agency and South West Water.

A SFRA Level 1 for Cornwall was produced during 2009 with input from all partners. This replaces previously published SFRA Level 1 that were prepared by the former Cornish districts, borough and county council.

The assessment of flood risk in the county is being done in stages:

  • The first stage is the Level 1 assessment is a desk-top based, coarse appraisal of all flooding in the county. It gives an overview of flood risk in Cornwall and identifies the places where flood risk is an issue.
  • The next stage is the SFRA Level 2, which is a more detailed assessment of flood risk. This detailed assessment will be done in places that are at risk of flooding (as shown in the SFRA Level 1) and where there are pressures for new development.

The Cornwall SFRA Level 1 consists of a written part and a mapping website; these two parts are inextricably linked and one should not be read without the other. Apart from an overview of flood risk in Cornwall it also gives wider information on flood risk, roles and responsibilities, types of flooding, developer advice and recommendations for planning policy.

The Cornwall SFRA Level 1 document sets the policy context for the SFRA, explains the methodology and data used in the Cornwall study and comes up with conclusions and recommendations.

The SFRA interactive map shows the following layers: rivers, flood defences, flood risk zones, tidal extremes including projected sea level rise, river catchments, shoreline management policy units and flood warning areas.

The SFRA is a ‘living’ document and will be reviewed on a regular basis in light of better flood risk information and emerging policy guidance. For individual Flood Risk Assessments it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that it is based on the best available and most up to date information. If in doubt, please contact the Local Planning Team as identified to the right of this page.

Based on the findings of the SFRA Level 1, more detailed Level 2 assessments are currently being undertaken for areas of identified flood risk where there are pressures for development. Once these assessments are completed they will be added to this website.