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Julie James, Minister for Climate Change

First published:
28 September 2021
Last updated:

New planning policy advice on flooding and coastal erosion, which has been released today, will take effect from Wednesday 1 December.  Technical Advice Note (TAN) 15: Development, flooding and coastal erosion and a new Flood Map for Planning introduce important changes to the way flooding and coastal erosion risks are considered in the development and planning process.

Flood risk in Wales is increasing as a result of climate change.  Serious flooding events are becoming more frequent and some areas currently at little risk will become vulnerable to flooding as our climate continues to change.  As the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales recognises, the planning system can help communities be more resilient to the effects of climate change by locating development in areas away from risk of flooding.  Improved knowledge of the places which will be at risk in the future can help keep people safe, by preventing the damage and disruption to homes, workplaces and infrastructure that flooding can cause.

TAN 15 provides planning advice that informs local development plans and decisions on planning applications in areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion.  It will be used by the Welsh Government, local planning authorities and developers to direct development away from areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion. 

TAN 15 is clear that new developments of homes, emergency services, schools and hospitals and other highly vulnerable land uses, must not be located in areas of high flood risk without strong flood defences.  If a local planning authority is minded to approve any scheme against this advice, the Welsh Ministers will be notified and able to decide the application directly.

For all development in areas of low risk and areas protected by strong flood defences, and for less vulnerable developments in areas at high risk of flooding, securing planning permission will be dependent on passing the acceptability tests in TAN15.  These tests include providing justification for the location in a flood risk area, being on brownfield land and being resilient in the event of a flood. TAN 15 is also clear that constructing new engineered defences to enable greenfield development is not an appropriate nor a sustainable approach to addressing the flood risks we face.

The Flood Map for Planning identifies four types of flood zone, with each zone having particular advice in TAN 15 for proposed developments.  The flood zones are based on current risk levels with the addition of allowances for climate change.  They therefore include areas considered likely to be at risk of flooding in the future, enabling planning decisions to take direct account of the expected impact of climate change on flood risk.  The Flood Map for Planning is published by Natural Resources Wales, and will be updated every 6 months, in May and November every year, to reflect the latest modelling and data on flood risks.

The new TAN 15 and Flood Map for Planning have been made available today to allow planning authorities and developers to prepare for them coming into force on 1 December.  From that date, all planning applications awaiting a decision, and all new planning applications, will be assessed against the new advice and map.  Any Local Development Plan under review and yet to reach the formal examination stage must also use the new TAN 15 and Flood Map for Planning after 1 December.

The new TAN 15 and Flood Map for Planning replace the 2004 version of TAN 15 and the development advice map.  Technical Advice Note 14: Coastal Planning will also be cancelled as a consequence of publishing the new TAN 15.  Updated climate change allowances that must be built into flood consequences assessments have also been published today. 

Links – available from 10:00hrs on Tuesday 28 September:

New TAN 15 –

Flood Map for Planning –

National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales -