Information about how we tackle local flood risks and the steps we are taking to protect our communities.

As lead local flood authority, we investigate and assess flood risks, including flooding from surface water, groundwater and existing watercourses. We work with partners involved in flood and water management to protect communities from the impact of flooding.

Local flood risk strategy

The strategy is a legal document which provides a framework for addressing flood risk across the county. The development, maintenance and implementation of a strategy for the management of local flood risk are statutory duties for the County Council as lead local flood authority under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

The strategy has been structured in a way that makes it easy to find a specific area or read the strategy as a whole. You can view the North Yorkshire Local Flood Risk Strategy below:

Section title Overview
 Section 1: Overview of the North Yorkshire local strategy (pdf / 375 KB)

Why we need a strategy, what it contains, and what we want to achieve.

 Section 2: Local strategy action plan (pdf / 3 MB)

The latest programme of activities for managing and reducing flood risk in North Yorkshire.

 Section 3: Reviewing flooding incidents and concerns (pdf / 584 KB)

How we investigate and assess flooding and flood risk, and the actions we will take.

 Section 4: Flooding in North Yorkshire (pdf / 3 MB)

A summary of the geographical and economic context, and an overview of the sources of flooding.

 Section 5: Flooding and drainage legislation (pdf / 865 KB)

A summary of the legislation and associated guidance. 

 Section 6: Roles and responsibilities for flood risk management (pdf / 806 KB)

Sets out the flood risk management duties and responsibilities of organisations, businesses and individuals.

 Section 7: Financing flood risk management (pdf / 457 KB)

An overview of the opportunities for attracting funding and investment in flood risk management.

 Section 8: Strategic environmental assessment, volume 1 (pdf / 2 MB)

 Section 8: Strategic environmental assessment, volume 2 (pdf / 4 MB)

 Section 8: Strategic environmental assessment, volume 3 (pdf / 2 MB)

Describes the important links that exist with wider environmental considerations.
Equalities impact assessment The strategy has been developed to eliminate, reduce or mitigate flooding impact on communities.

Structures and assets to manage flood risk and drainage

We keep a record of structures that play a part in reducing flood risk, such as flood walls, banks and culverts. Any failure of these structures could increase flood risks. We also have access to our partners' asset records, which helps us draw a picture of how water moves around the county. The process includes identifying structures that were not built to reduce flood risks but do so because of their size, design or position. These structures can be officially designated so they cannot be altered or removed without our consent.

Flood incident investigation

Flooding can come from a variety of sources, so it can be difficult to define responsibilities and accountability. We bring the relevant parties together to coordinate the investigation into significant flooding.

We recognise the impact of flooding to gardens and other land and we can learn from such incidents, but our priority is people who have experienced or are at risk of property flooding. Our ability to carry out detailed investigation where internal flooding has not occurred is limited. Recent flood risk investigation reports are available in the section below. 

Development control

We are responsible for land drainage consents. Planning permission, including the approval of drainage design, is dealt with by your district planning authority.

We are a consenting authority for works on ordinary watercourses and have associated enforcement powers relating to their management and maintenance. The Culverting Works and Drainage Maintenance Protocol 2019 is a guide to the circumstances in which we will apply the relevant legislation and exercise our powers relating to the installation of culverts. It offers guidance on how the council will proportionately direct the use of the powers available to enforce maintenance of ordinary watercourses and drainage systems.

Sustainable drainage systems

Local planning policies and decisions on planning applications relating to major development are required to ensure that sustainable drainage systems are used for the management of surface water unless demonstrated to be inappropriate. View the frequently asked questions below for more details.

Guidance for developers and drainage engineers

Read our guidance for developers and drainage engineers.

How communities can help themselves

If you belong to a town or parish council or a community group and are interested in setting up a flood group to make your community more resilient, email

    Frequently asked questions

    As the lead local flood authority, we have a responsibility to investigate significant flood incidents in North Yorkshire. Incidents are assessed in line with the criteria in section three of our local flood risk strategy above.

    The following characteristics of a flood have been identified, which we use to determine if a formal investigation needs to take place in response to a flood:

    • the level of support and engagement from other risk management authorities;
    • the number of properties internally flooded;
    • the depth, area or velocity of flooding reported;
    • the frequency of flooding in a given location;
    • the nature or extent of critical infrastructure impacted by the flood;
    • the nature or source of requests for an investigation received by us; and
    • whether the flood relates to a known issue.

    Flood investigation reports

    These reports have fulfilled one or more of the above criteria. We have produced the reports in conjunction with other relevant risk management authorities.

    February 2022 flood investigation report

    February 2020 flood investigation report

    July 2019 flood investigation report

    August 2017 flood investigation report

    November 2016 flood investigation report

    Boxing Day 2015 flood investigation reports

    Our partners include:

    Local planning policies and decisions on planning applications relating to major development are required to ensure sustainable drainage systems are used for the management of surface water unless demonstrated to be inappropriate.

    Major development is development involving any one or more of the following:

    • the winning and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits;
    • waste development;
    • the provision of dwellinghouses where the number to be provided is ten or more, or the development is to be carried out on a site of 0.5 hectares or more and it is not known whether the development falls within sub-paragraph (c)(i);
    • the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more; or
    • development carried out on a site having an area of one hectare or more.

    You can read the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 legislation for more information.

    In its capacity as lead local flood authority, North Yorkshire County Council is a statutory consultee with respect to surface water management for planning authorities determining planning applications for major developments.

    Local planning authorities for the county are:

    More information is available on our sustainable drainage systems design guidance page.