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Surface water management plans (SWMPs)

How to use surface water management plans (SWMPs).

Where they are suitable for local circumstances, surface water management plans (SWMPs) can be useful tools for:

  • assessing the risk of surface water flooding
  • identifying options to manage risk to acceptable level
  • making the right investment decisions
  • planning the delivery of actions to manage flood risk.

SWMPs are non-statutory plans which preceded the introduction of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.  They can be used to look at existing problems and to inform planning decisions for new development. In particular they can provide an important evidence base for the development of local flood risk management strategies.  The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) wrote guidance in 2010 which provided an overarching framework which allows different organisations to work together and develop a shared understanding of the most suitable solutions to surface water flooding problems. 

Surface Water Management Plan Guidance (PDF, 123, pages, 1.89 MB large file)