Oxfordshire Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) | Oxfordshire County Council

Oxfordshire Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA)

An analysis of past and future flood risk in Oxfordshire.

Flooded village

If you are concerned about immediate flooding please look at the If there's a flood pages. In an emergency ring 999.

Oxfordshire County Council are required to prepare a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment as outlined in the Flood Risk Regulations (2009).

The Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) provides a high-level summary of significant flood risk, based on available information, describing both the probability and consequences of past and future flooding. The report has assisted with the development of our local flood risk management strategy which has been developed to manage local flooding within Oxfordshire.

The scope of the PFRA is to consider flooding from surface runoff, ground water and ordinary watercourses and any interaction these sources have with main rivers.

The methodology for producing it was based on the Environment Agency’s Final PFRA Guidance and Defra’s Guidance on selecting Flood Risk Areas, both published in December 2010. The Environment Agency's national methodology has been applied to assess significant flood risk for the European Community as a whole. This has been set out by Defra in order to identify indicative Flood Risk Areas across England.

Flood Risk Areas in Oxfordshire

Throughout Oxfordshire there are locations at risk from flooding. However in terms of a European perspective, nowhere in Oxfordshire is considered to be a significant flood risk area.

A Flood Risk Area is a location where flooding is deemed significant (in a national context for reporting to Europe). The threshold for significance used to determine Flood Risk Areas has been set by the Minister, one of the indicators for this assignment being that 30,000 people could be affected by local flooding at a particular location.

This is not to say that localised flooding in Oxfordshire is insignificant. The flooding in June 2007 clearly highlighted how vulnerable our communities are to local flooding and the PFRA highlights that a large number of people could be affected by surface water flooding. As a consequence of this risk Oxfordshire County Council considers this threat to the health and wellbeing of these residents seriously. This has been considered whilst developing the local flood risk management strategy.

Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment documents

As a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), we were required to submit our PFRA to the Environment Agency for approval by 22 June 2011.


The assessment was undertaken as a broadscale and strategic flood risk assessment of local sources of flooding and is not intended to be used to identify individual properties that may be at risk of flooding or provide details of where and when flood risk management works will be undertaken.

Local knowledge of past flooding is an important source of information which can tell us more about how accurate the flood mapping we hold is. If you have any questions about the PFRA mapping or have information about past flooding in the area please email  flooding.incidents@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Flooding terms explained

Term Explanation
Flood and Water Management Act (2010) Recent legislation (not yet fully enacted) that brings into law a number of the recommendations made in the Pitt Review (2008).
Flood Risk Area An area where flooding is deemed significant (in a national context for reporting to Europe).
Flood Risk Regulations (2009) Regulations that bring into force the European Floods Directive.
Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) The role of local authorities which is enhanced to take on responsibility for leading the coordination of flood risk management in their areas - Oxfordshire County Council is the LLFA for Oxfordshire.
Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

Required under the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). The strategy will cover:

  • Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) in the LLFA area (Districts/ City, LLFA, Environment Agency, Water Companies, Highways Authorities)
  • Flood risk and coastal erosion risk management functions that RMAs may exercise
  • Objectives for managing flood risk
  • Measures proposed to meet the objectives
  • How and when measures will be implemented
  • Costs, benefits and funding of measures
  • Assessment of local flood risk for the purpose of the strategy
  • How the strategy will be reviewed.
  • How the strategy contributes to wider environmental objectives.
Pitt Review (2008) Independent review into the 2007 floods chaired by Sir Michael Pitt. Made a number of recommendations, including the greater involvement of local authorities in flood risk management
Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) As assessment required under the Flood Risk Regulations (2009) consisting of a Preliminary Assessment Report and the identification of Flood Risk Areas.
Risk Management Authority (RMA)

Authorities who all have a duty to co-operate, the public organisations must act consistently when undertaking Flood Risk Management functions and private Water companies must regard to the functions and responsibilities as set out in the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Authorities include - Oxfordshire County Council, City and District Councils, the Environment Agency, Water Companies, Highways Authorities.


Last reviewed
09 May 2017
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