By Legal Futures Associate Thames Water Property Searches
Changes to planning guidance announced last month, mean councils must ensure new property developments meet strict criteria in flood risk locations before they are given the green light.
New homes will be better protected from flooding thanks to the updated planning guidance announced by The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs this summer. The new guidance was released as a result of last year’s government policy review for development in flood risk areas.
Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark said: “We have all seen how flooding is becoming all too frequent. This new guidance will strengthen councils’ ability to require better flood resilience in new developments.
“Councils will need to demonstrate that the development will be safe from flooding for its lifetime, will not increase flood risk elsewhere, and where possible will reduce flood risk overall. This will help make sure our homes and neighbourhoods are built to last for generations to come.”
The changes mean planning applications for new developments in areas at risk of flooding can expect a new level of scrutiny from planners, in a bid to meet the challenges of a changing climate.
“As climate change makes extreme weather events such as flooding more likely, we must do all we can to make sure that people’s homes and businesses are kept safe,” said
Floods Minister Steve Double.
He added: “This guidance will help ensure new developments are designed with flood resilience in mind and do not increase flood risk elsewhere.”
Caroline Douglas, Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency, said:
“It’s vital that we plan for a changing climate by avoiding unsafe new development in flood and coastal risk areas.
“The new guidance provides vital advice to planners and developers to encourage the use of more sustainable drainage systems to reduce surface water flood risk as well as how to plan and adapt to coastal change.”
The updated planning practice guidance means new homes in areas at risk of flooding should meet recommended standards on flood resilience – for example, using flood resilient building materials or moving plug sockets higher up walls.
It also includes better guidance on how to control surface water run-off, with the use of sustainable drainage systems to enhance the quantity and quality of water in the region, as well as local biodiversity. The guidance also highlights the opportunities new development can bring to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding through the use of natural flood management techniques.
Thames Water Property Searches’ environmental and flood search is a crucial way of managing ever evolving flood risk for prospective home buyers. It can help you to advise your clients on the potential flood risk of their prospective property, especially as many homes affected by flooding don’t actually sit in designated flood plains. Our useful alerts ensure that you are advised when a flood search is recommended on a particular property.