As of March 2023, Welsh Government (WG) have further suspended the coming into force of Technical Advice Note 15, which relates to development and flood risk and was due to come into effect in June 2023, due to the need for further consultation. Whilst this delay has been confirmed by WG, they are yet to confirm when the new TAN will come into effect. As follows, we seek to address a series of key questions for what this means for development in Wales.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a new TAN15 being prepared?
A revised TAN is being prepared in response to climate change, the consequences of which will impact the physical and built environment. In short, the frequency and severity of floods is increasing and is only expected to further increase as a result of climate change. Accordingly, the TAN has been updated to advise planning authorities and developers on how to fulfil the requirements set out in PPW, whilst recognising the real threat posed by climate change and flooding.
What is the difference between the two versions of TAN15?
The current TAN15 was published in July 2004, and utilises National Resource Wales’ (NRW) Development Advice Map (DAM). The new TAN15 will utilise the Flood Map for Planning (FMfP), which has been prepared to coincide with the publication of the new TAN15. The current zones A, B, C1 and C2 are set to be replaced by zones 1, 2 and 3, with greater emphasis on the various sources of flooding. The FMfP takes into account allowances for climate change, and incorporates flood risk from surface water and small watercourses, as well as rivers and sea. The revised version of the new TAN which is currently being consulted upon also gives more weight to regeneration projects in the flood zone, in response to concerns that it would otherwise sterilise development in large areas of some of Wales’ most populated areas.
What does this mean for development management?
The advice issued by WG in 2021 remains valid, in that the existing policy framework should continue to be used for decision making on planning applications and pre-application enquiries. Notwithstanding this, planning authorities are advised that it may be appropriate to take the best and most recent information into account as a material planning consideration.
Does the new TAN hold any weight yet?
Whilst the 2004 version remains the adopted version, the new TAN is at an advanced stage of consultation and should therefore be considered in development management decisions. Whilst it holds no formal weight, given its advanced stage, the new TAN and FMfP are to be regarded as a material consideration. On this basis, authorities and applicants can expect advice from Natural Resource Wales to highlight the FMfP, where it clearly affects the context of the application.
WG also recommends planning authorities engage with relevant organisations and departments when considering risks other than flooding from main rivers and the sea, if this is not already the case.
Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (formerly the Planning Inspectorate) will continue to use the existing TAN 15 as the national planning policy basis for considering flood risk in appeals and other cases under its consideration. However they will also have regard to the FMfP where it has been identified as a material consideration.
If you have any queries regarding the latest version of TAN15, or questions over how to utilise the new Flood Map for Planning, feel free to get in touch and we will be more than happy to offer our assistance.