Flood risk and development

When developing in areas at risk of flooding, there are a number of factors to consider.

Planning policy

The Salford Local Plan: Development Management Policies and Designations (adopted 18 January 2023) includes policies which address the tensions between development and flood risk.

Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS)

In April 2015, the government introduced changes to the national planning practice guidance. The changes make it a requirement that sustainable drainage systems are incorporated into major developments wherever reasonably practicable.

In order to assist developers with meeting these requirements, the city council has produced a SUDS checklist. The checklist offers guidance on what information should be submitted with planning applications for major developments (more than ten houses or greater than one hectare in area). This can be downloaded from this page.

Flood risk assessment

Much of the information required for a flood risk assessment can be found in the strategic flood risk assessment or on the Environment Agency website. More detailed information about flood risk assets and flooding incidents can be obtained by contacting the council on 0161 779 4800.


Works which affect the flow of a watercourse require consent. If your watercourse is part of a main river then you will need to apply for the consent of the Environment Agency for any proposed works. To identify whether your watercourse is a main river, visit the Environment Agency website and view their flood maps.

An 'ordinary watercourse' is a watercourse that is not part of a main river and includes rivers, streams, ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991) and passages, through which water flows. If you intend to carry out work which may place or alter a structure within an ordinary watercourse (ie affect the flow or storage of water in an ordinary watercourse), you will need to apply to Salford City Council for consent. The ordinary watercourse consent document available to download below contains further guidance and an application form.

Salford City Council as lead local flood authority is empowered to enforce any of its decisions in applications to carry out works on ordinary watercourses.

If the proposed changes could increase the flow of water you may also require a discharge consent from the Environment Agency.

Emergency planning considerations

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit has produced guidance outlining what emergency planning issues should be considered when assessing planning applications. This guidance provides useful pointers for developers whose site is at medium or high risk of flooding. It can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

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