Sunday 16 February 2014

Building on floodplains in the South West

The Sunday Politics Show featured East Devon representatives Neil Parish MP and Cllr Roger Giles talking about the verities of allowing houses to be built on floodplains:
BBC iPlayer - Sunday Politics South West: 16/02/2014 [from 43.55]
Claire Wright
with the consensus being that it should be avoided.
However,  BBC research highlighted that planning consents for building on floodplains have risen in the last couple of years in the South West.

Several authorities have ignored advice from the Environment Agency, who have been providing clear assessment, certainly since 2009:
Flooding in England: a national assessment of flood risk

And the head of the EA has courted criticism by speaking his mind. 
From the Telegraph earlier this week:

“Anyone who builds in a flood plain, anyone who buys property in a flood plain, needs to think about the flood risk that that property faces,” Lord Smith told the BBC. “When planning applications come in for this sort of building we are a statutory consultee, but we are not the statutory planning authority.”

UK flooding: homeowners knew the risk, says Environment Agency chairman - Telegraph

Indeed, warnings have gone unheeded it seems. From the BBC this Friday:

After the disastrous 2007 floods that swamped 55,000 homes, the government commissioned the Pitt Review to ensure it didn't happen again.

The review was chaired by Sir Michael Pitt, a career civil servant with a first-class degree in civil engineering. On the back of its recommendations, the government did take action, and the Environment Agency says its flood defences are now protecting 1.3 million homes.

Yet tracts of the UK lie under water, and scientists warn this is likely to happen more often with man-made climate change.

So it seems more must be done - by government and people alike.

BBC News - Have we learned our lessons on flooding?

And this is from today's Sunday Telegraph:

Flood-hit areas earmarked for more homes

Councils have issued plans to build hundreds of new homes in some of the areas worst affected by the country's flooding crisis

Throughout the country, tens of thousands of properties are due to be built on high-risk “grade 3” flood land as councils struggle to meet government targets for house-building.

Between 2001 and 2011, about 40,000 properties were built on wholly or largely undefended plains at “significant risk” of flooding, according to a report produced by a sub-committee of the Government’s committee on climate change. Floodplain development grew faster than building in the rest of the country.

In the six years to 2011, the Environment Agency did not object to more than half of all planning applications for flood-risk areas, the report said. In about half the cases where it did oppose an application, it dropped its objection after negotiations with councils and developers. In almost 10,000 cases over the past six years reported, the agency was not informed of the final outcome of the application.

There are no national regulations to prevent developers from building homes on floodplains, and construction companies bear none of the subsequent risk should the houses flood.

Flood-hit areas earmarked for more homes - Telegraph

A Lympstone resident commented on the East Devon draft Local Plan last year:

River and Coastal Flooding likely to worsen in future, greater consideration should be given to the issue in proposing new development on or near flood plains.

East Devon Proposed Local Plan Consultation 2012

Here is a piece from Independent District Councillor for Feniton Susie Bond, citing clear advice from the insurance industry in today's Sunday Telegraph:

Aviva boss calls for a strong strategy for surface water flooding

The following comment from Mark Wilson (Chief Executive of Aviva) in today’s Sunday Telegraph will strike a chord with Feniton resident, Bill Knollman who insures his property with Aviva. Bill was flooded at the end of 2012 and has just received his renewal notice from Aviva … Bill is quite reasonably upset by a doubling of his insurance premiums and a whopping flood excess of £4000. (We await to see if this will be mitigated by a letter from EDDC outlining the progress of the flood alleviation scheme.)

Aviva boss calls for a strong strategy for surface water flooding | Susie Bond

Insurance is going to become more of an issue:
Everyone must play their part to keep the flood threat at bay - Telegraph
First large insurer breaks ranks to say new flood insurance deal unfit for purpose | Sidmouth Independent News

No comments: