Widespread flooding during the past three years, and predictions that rainfall intensity will increase by up to 30 per cent by 2115, indicate surface water flooding is set to become a more severe and widespread problem in the UK.

In England alone, 3.8 million properties are at risk of surface water flooding, and with new housing developments planned in many areas across the UK, extra pressure is being placed on existing drainage infrastructure.

When surface water flooding occurs in urban areas, the cause is frequently unclear.  Those organisations responsible for flood risk management need to act now to develop an integrated approach to meet these challenges.

Surface water management planning is a key component of the draft Flood and Water Management Bill, brought forward by the 2009 Queen’s speech.  The EU Floods Directive, which include new flood risk regulations and PPS25 are also driving forward the process for surface water management plans (SWMPs). 

Government funding has been set aside for the production of SWMPs by those UK authorities most at risk from surface water flooding, and early action funding is available for those authorities who want to take steps now to mitigate the risk to their communities.

Renowned for providing sustainable flood risk and drainage solutions, Royal HaskoningDHV is working in partnership with the Environment Agency and a number of local authorities to help them prepare SWMPs as part of their Strategic Flood Risk Assessment work. 

What is a Surface Water Management Plan?

A Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) is a framework through which key local partners with responsibility for surface water and drainage in their area work together to understand the causes of surface water flooding and agree the most cost effective way of managing surface water flood risk. (Source: Defra)

The aim of a SWMP is to:

  • bring together those responsible for water services
  • improve and share understanding about sources, pathways and receptors of surface water flooding, and current and future risks
  • enable better planning for sustainable development
  • facilitate improved emergency planning and response
  • enable the development of resilience of critical infrastructure
  • identify and prioritise practical solutions to reduce surface water flood risk; and
  • educate the public

How we can help you produce your Surface Water Management Plan

Our dedicated SWMP team will guide you through the four key SWMP stages, which are to:

  • help you establish partnerships and facilitate discussions surrounding responsibilities
  • carry out detailed risk assessments to identify whether there is a problem or not, what the causes of any problems may be, and whether future development could give rise to additional problems
  • put forward options for resolving risks
  • initiate and oversee a programme of implementation

With over 160 highly experienced coastal and rivers engineers based across the UK, including a dedicated surface water management planning team, we are well placed to provide sound flood risk management advice and technical expertise.