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River flooding

Information about river flooding and how we assess its risk

What is river flooding?

River flooding (also known as fluvial flooding) occurs when there is an overflow of water from a river channel into surrounding areas. There are several rivers in West Norfolk which may lead to this type of flooding, including the River Great Ouse and River Nar.

Who manages flood risk from rivers?

The responsibility of river management varies across West Norfolk. Typically, management responsibilities will lie with one of the following:

  • The Environment Agency
  • Internal Drainage Boards
  • Landowners adjacent to a river (known as riparian owners)

River flooding policy

How we manage rivers in West Norfolk is governed by various acts and policies which we follow.

Flood and Water Management Act (2010)

Following extensive flooding during the summer of 2007, an independent review of the floods known as the Pitt Review was undertaken to determine what could have been done differently. One of the key outcomes of this review was the development of The Flood and Water Management Act (2010).

The Flood and Water Management Act (2010) was introduced to improve flood risk management and to ensure security of water supplies in England and Wales. The Act established Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) who have responsibility for managing local flood risk. For Norfolk, the LLFA is Norfolk County Council.

Anglian River Basin Management Plan (2022)

In 2022 the Environment Agency produced an updated river basin management plan for the Anglian region. This Plan focuses on the pressures facing the water environment in the Anglian region by considering:  

  • The current state of the water environment
  • Pressures affecting the water environment
  • Environmental objectives for protecting and improving water
  • Programmes of measures and actions needed to achieve the plans objectives
  • Progress since the previous plan published in 2016

You can find out more about the Anglian River Basin Management Plan here.

Anglian Flood Risk Management Plan (2021-2027)

In 2022 the Environment Agency published updated flood risk management plans across England for the period from 2021-2027. These plans outline strategic objectives and actions which should be undertaken to manage flood risk at a local and national scale.

Flood risk management plans outline authorities will work together with communities to manage flood risk from:

  • Rivers
  • The sea
  • Surface water
  • Groundwater
  • Reservoir

You can find out more about Flood Risk Management Plans here.

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)

The Borough Council has a strategic flood risk assessment to assess the risk of flooding from all sources for planning purposes. For further information, please see our flood risk assessment planning pages.