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MPs demand sustainable drainage drive to curb flooding

Words: Huw Morris

Government’s policies on sustainable drainage are failing to protect communities from flood risk and miss opportunities to improve amenity and the environment, according to MPs.

Government plans to deliver one million new homes by 2020 must be achieved without increasing flooding, MPs concluded in their inquiry into the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

Planning rules must be strengthened to ensure that all new developments of any size are required to install high-quality sustainable drainage systems, they argued. Government guidance must also be tightened to reduce significantly the potential for developers to opt out from installing schemes on the grounds of cost or site practicality.

In a highly critical report, the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called for a significant improvement in the number and quality of sustainable drainage systems, accusing the government of only “purporting” to support such schemes.

“Instead, it has adopted sub-standard planning policies which have led to far too few schemes, many of which are of low quality, being installed in new developments,” said committee chair Neil Parish.

MPs also demanded that construction standards for sustainable drainage systems are made statutory to provide a stronger basis for enforcement.

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