Building regulations must be tougher to protect communities from flooding

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The government must reform building regulations for new homes if it is to protect communities from future flood risks

Mary Dhonau OBE has warned building regulations need to be strengthened to ensure the risks of future flooding is reduced.

Dhonau, who is the chief executive of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, urged for action to be taken to ensure new homes are prepared for future events.

Government has missed opportunities

Earlier this week the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra) criticised the government for “missing opportunities to act on” its Future Flood Prevention report published in November.

In response to this, Dhonau called for flood resilient measures to be automatically included in all new build properties in flood risk zones.

She said: “I think it is now a matter of urgency that the Government toughens up on its planning and building regulation processes to make sure that any new builds located in ‘at risk’ areas automatically include measures to make the property flood resilient.

“My concern is that Flood Re does not cover new build properties and therefore we must stop building houses that are simply not covered or prepared for future flood events; it’s not fair on the future generations who will have to deal with the dreadful aftermath that flood waters bring.”

Landmark Information

Data shows that numerous properties are still being built each year in areas that are considered to be flood risk zones.

Data partner for the campaign, Landmark Information, collected flood risk data from the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and planning application data from Barbour ABI.

From this it was determined that between September 2015 and 2016 nine out of 10 new build applications in the City of Kingston upon Hull were within an EA/NRW Flood Zone 3. Thurrock in Essex saw 48 per cent of new builds built in this zone, while Newport and North Somerset came in at 37 and 32 per cent, respectively.

Dhonau added: “Having reviewed the data analysis from Landmark, it is clear that there are hundreds of applications submitted each year that fall in to a designated flood risk zone according to the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales’ parameters.

“These stats don’t even take into account groundwater or surface water risks and so I fear the volume is greater still.

“I therefore agree with Efra’s call to Government to create far stronger planning rules, and penalties for those that breach them, to ensure future communities are not blighted by today’s failure to act.”

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