The Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) is established by Directive 2007/60/EC (the so-called ‘Floods Directive’) and aims at assessing and managing flood risk at district level to reduce negative consequences for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activities. FRMPs are updated every 6-years: the first FRMPs were approved in 2016 and covered the implementation cycle 2015-2021. Activities are, currently, underway for to the approval of the final FRMPs (second cycle) in December 2021.The FRMPs are prepared and approved on the whole national territory, in accordance with the laws in force and in compliance with the guidance documents and procedures defined at both national and European level.

Directive 2007/60/EC sets out that the following activities are carried out, in each river basin district or Unit of Management (UoM).

  1. Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) and identification of the areas at potential significant flood risk (APSFR).
  2. Preparation of Flood Hazard and Risk Maps (FHRM)
  3. Preparation of Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP) which are the planning tools for “all aspects of flood risk management focusing on prevention, protection, preparedness, including flood forecasts and early warning systems and taking into account the characteristics of the particular river basin or sub-basin“.

Moreover, in accordance with the Directive, general risk management objectives have been identified at district level and can be attained in each single UoM through the implementation of prevention, protection, preparedness, response, and restoration measures on the basis of the physical, economic and land use characteristics of each single basin. The Northern Apennines FRMP is composed by 12 separate plans, one for each UoM.  The objectives set at District scale are the following:


  • Objectives for human health
    • Mitigation of risk to life and human health.
    • Mitigation of damage to the systems which guarantee the operation of strategic facilities and infrastructures.
  • Objectives for the Environment
    • mitigation of risk to protected areas due to the negative impacts of pollution caused by flood events.
    • mitigation of the negative impact of pollution caused by flood events on the environmental status of water bodies in accordance with the objectives set by Directive 2000/60/EC.
  • Objectives for Cultural Heritage
    • Reduction of risk to cultural heritage: historical, architectural, and cultural assets.
    • Mitigation of risk to Landscape caused by flood events.
  • Objectives for economic activities
    • mitigation of damage to the primary infrastructural network
    • mitigation of damage to the private and public economic system
    • mitigation of damage to real estate
    • mitigation of damage to the systems which support economic activities


The objectives are pursued through the implementation of prevention, protection, preparedness, response, and restoration measures.

  • Prevention ⇒actions to regulate land at its correct use based on flood hazard that has been identified by the maps; they include, for example, prevention measures of the PAI (Piano Assetto Idrogeologico), the land use planning rules at regional and local level, possible measures for the relocation of elements at risk. The FRMP regulations provide for the most significant prevention measures of the Plan.
  • Protection ⇒ flood defence measures, which may consist of structural works (dams, embankments, reservoirs, spillways, sea defences, etc.), measures to recover and restore rivers (recovery of floodplain areas, restoration of wetlands, etc.), maintenance measures, hydraulic forestry systems.
  • Preparedness ⇒Warning and monitoring events (flood detection systems, hydro-pluviometric monitoring, weather forecast models and assessment of ground effects) protocols to manage installations during flood events (dams, reservoirs with moving barriers etc), civil protection plans aimed at facing the events to limit expected damage and residual risks.
  • Response and recovery ⇒ post-event assessment actions to evaluate and, if necessary, revise measures.

The Floods Directive was transposed into national legislation by legislative Decree n.49 of 2010. In accordance with the allocation of competences established by Legislative Decree 49/2010, the River Basin District Authorities identify prevention and protection measures (part A of the Plan), whilst the Regions, in cooperation with the National Civil Protection Department, define the preparedness, response and recovery measures (part B of the Plan).

In Italy plans, to manage flood and landslide risk were introduced by law 183 in 1989. The PAI (plans for flood and landslide risk) are still in force, in some UoMs of the District, with different levels of cogency with respect to land use planning. However, a process is ongoing to gradually repeal them.