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17/05/2021

Government urged to consider flooding in planning bill

Words: Laura Edgar
Flooding / Shutterstock_176973317

Flood Re and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) have called on the government to make sure that new homes are not built in areas at risk of flooding.

The call comes after a planning bill was announced in the Queen's Speech on 11 May.

The Queen said the government wants to bring forward the bill to make sure more homes can be built and more people can own their own home. It also said it wants to enhance the rights of renters.

It drew both criticism and support from professionals working in the built environment, with some concerned that communities won’t have a voice, while others welcomed a "more efficient" planning system.

In a letter published in the Times last week, Flood Re and the TCPA also urged the government to use the planning bill to ensure communities have a legal right to feed in their local expertise and have their voices heard in planning decisions that affect flood risk in their areas.

New homes, they said, must be built in the right places and be of the right quality to meet the challenges of climate change.

The letter notes that homes built after 2009 are not included in the Flood Re scheme, which is a joint initiative between the government and insurers that seeks to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable. This means the affordability of insurance cannot be guaranteed.

"Ensuring the three steps that we have highlighted are introduced will leave homeowners less vulnerable to flooding and hence able to shop around for affordable insurance," the letter explains.

Andy Bord, chief executive at Flood Re, warned that flooding is a "real threat" to people and their homes now and continued climate change will see the threat increase. "Homes that are built now must last for generations to come and therefore we must ensure that they are fit for purpose and flood risk is considered. We have the opportunity with the planning reform bill to get this right."

Fiona Howie, chief executive at the TCPA, added: “As the UK assumes global leadership in tackling climate change through COP26, we must act now to protect our communities from future climate risks and the devastation flooding causes. The planning bill must consider flood risk and give local communities a legal right to have their voices heard in planning decisions.”


Read more:

Planning bill features in the Queen’s Speech

Industry reacts to Queen’s Speech


Image credit | Shutterstock

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