Flood risk strategy and responsibility

Flood risk strategy and responsibility

Strategies to manage flood risk around Bristol, flood investigation reports and who’s responsible for different watercourses such as main rivers, streams, surface water and ground water.

There are over 100 miles of waterways in Bristol, shown on the Big Blue Map of Bristol.

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

Under the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) we’re designated as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for Bristol. This means we’re responsible for managing flood risks from local sources, such as, surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

In partnership with the Environment Agency, Wessex Water and the Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board we’ve produced the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (pdf, 4.2MB) (opens new window) . This sets out our plan for better managing flood risks in our area.

Bristol Avon Flood Strategy

Having a river at the heart of our city comes with challenges we need to plan for. The Bristol Avon Flood Strategy is our long-term plan to manage flood risk.

The Central Area Flood Risk Assessment (pdf, 7.2MB) (opens new window) investigated flood risk from the River Avon to central Bristol. The risk of this increases as the impact of climate change causes the sea levels to rise and peak river flows to increase.

On 9 March 2021, Cabinet endorsed the Bristol Avon Flood Strategy following a public consultation. The strategy seeks to design measures that work for the city year-round. Defences need to better protect homes and businesses on the rare occasions that flooding occurs, but they also need to work on the vast majority of days when river levels are normal. 

Outline Business Cases and plans to secure the additional funding required for the first phase of the strategy are currently being developed. Following this, ground investigations, a topographical survey, public engagement, and technical assessments will be carried out. First phase works are expected to begin from around 2025. 

Read our updates about the Bristol Avon Flood Strategy for the latest news on this long-term project. 

To get future updates, email BristolAvonFlood@bristol.gov.uk 

Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA) Ecology Mitigation and Flood Defence Project

The Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA) Ecology Mitigation and Flood Defence Project is the biggest flood defence and ecology project in the West of England’s history.

The project will provide 17km of flood defences to reduce flood risk to 2,500 homes and businesses and 12,000 new jobs for the West of England.

It will also:

  • manage the growing risk of flooding from climate change and rising sea levels
  • create new wetland habitat for birds along the internationally important Severn Estuary site
  • provide improved walking routes, making it easier for people to enjoy nature and the Severn Estuary views

The project is a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and the Environment Agency.

Flood risk responsibility

Main rivers, the sea and reservoirs
The Environment Agency is responsible for managing the flood risk from main rivers (map), the sea and reservoirs.

Land drainage at Avonmouth and Severnside
The Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board is responsible for managing water levels around Avonmouth and Severnside (map).

Other watercourses
We’re responsible for managing the flood risk from smaller “ordinary” watercourses, surface water and groundwater.

Road drainage
We’re responsible for managing road drainage and roadside ditches. Report a blocked or smelly street drain.

Sewers
Wessex Water is responsible for managing the flood risk from sewers.

Water mains
Bristol Water is responsible for managing the flood risk from burst water mains.

Flood investigations

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, we must investigate and produce reports on significant flooding where it’s necessary or appropriate.

Cheltenham Road flood

The investigation report into the flood on Cheltenham Road on 27 November 2018.

Cheltenham Road flood: 27 November 2018 (pdf, 1.7MB) (opens new window)

The report aims to examine:

  • cause of the flood
  • role of the relevant flood risk management authorities
  • what is proposed in response to the flooding

River Avon tidal flooding

The investigation report into the flooding along the River Avon on 11 and 12 March 2020:

Flood Investigation Report: River Avon, March 2020 (pdf, 1,016KB) (opens new window)

The report aims to examine:

  • cause of the flood
  • role of the relevant flood risk management authorities
  • what is proposed in response to the flooding

Flood Risk Asset Register

The Flood Risk Asset Register (map) shows structures or features which have an effect on flood risk management.

Contact information

Flood Risk Management

Bristol City Council

100 Temple Street

PO Box 3399

Bristol, BS1 9NE

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Email: flood.data@bristol.gov.uk

Tel: 0117 922 3206