Update 29/07/21

National Press: Developments on flood plains to be barred


Climate Change

Building on flood-risk land to be barred to prevent climate change devastation.
By Lucy Fisher DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR – The Telegraph

Developers are to be barred from building on land at risk of flooding as the Environment Secretary warns that climate change is heightening the threat of deluges destroying homes.

The government will today set out plans to invest £860Million in 1000 flood defense schemes this year, as part of a package of measures to better protect households, business premises and infrastructure.

“Climate change means more extreme weather, a higher risk of flooding events and coastal erosion”

Mr George Eustice, Environment Secretary

Improvements to flood insurance will also be announced to encourage the installation of flood doors, air brick covers and flood resistant paint in homes previously damaged by water.

The measure comes as fears grow in Whitehall about climate change and the need for the nation to adapt urgently to the challenges it poses.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, draws a link between global warming and flooding in an article for The Telegraph website today, saying
“Climate changes means more extreme weather, a higher risk of flooding events and coastal erosion. All too often we are seeing households suffering repeated flooding.”

Pledging to tackle the problem, he states the Government will hold a consultation this autumn on how to bolster the frequently flooded communities, including with more funding.

Better surface water maps will be published by next summer in order to hand 3.3 million people more information on local risks. New powers will also be given to the Housing Secratary
to block ‘inappropriate development’ on land threatened by flooding. The Government is introducing the reforms after 866 homes were granted planning permission in 2019-2020 despite Environmental Agency warnings about flood risk.

Mr Eustice says fresh guidance will be issued to ‘drive up compliance’ wit the flood advice by forcing local planning authorities to refer decisions to the Housing Secretary in cases where the Environment Agency has raised an objection on those grounds.

Stressing that climate change is a global problem, Mr Eustice highlights the ‘catastrophic flash flooding’ seen in Germany, Belgium, India and China in recent weeks. In London last weekend torrential downpours led to severe flash floods. The Met Office predicts that the stormy weather that has best much of the country will continue. Yellow weather warnings have been issued for the rain in North West England.

The six-year programme to boost flood alleviation scheme and coastal defenses aim to help better fortify 336’000 properties, preventing £32billion in wider economic harm caused by water damage.

Last year, the Government announced it would double capital funding for the flood and coastal defenses for the programme, which runs until 2027, to £5.2billion. Details of how the £860million first tranche of cash is to be spent will be published today.

Funding will be given to projects to improve river walls and embankments; create new wetlands, peatlands and woods; reduce the flow of rainwater upstream into rivers at risk of flooding. Towns in Greater Manchester, Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire and Weardale in County Durham are among the areas set to benefit. The plan will also outline repairs to the hard sea defenses in Lincolnshire.