Thousands of new homes could be built by local authorities on floodplains or land that has a high probability of flooding in the future reports the telegraph.co.uk
According to the article Greenpeace found that up to 9,000 new homes could to be built through the governments £200m property development scheme on land that the Environmental Agency has deemed at “significant” or “serious” risk of tidal or river flooding.
Nearly 50% of the areas that have been set aside by local authorities as part of the £200m scheme are at risk with 9 out of the 20 areas having some form of exposure to serious flood risk. Of those nine, two thirds coincided with existing flood risk zones.
Chief scientist for Greenpeace in the UK, Dr Doug Parr said: “Rushing to build thousands of new homes in flood-risk areas whilst at the same time cutting flood protection staff is a recipe for disaster.”
Local councils have been advised that they should consult with the Environment Agency before approving planning permission but are not obliged to follow their recommendations. The Government spokesman confirmed that “The Environment Agency provides advice on whether or not to grant permission, but final decisions rest with local authorities” adding “This Government takes flood risks extremely seriously and we are investing £2.3bn in flood defenses over the next six years, as well as protecting flood maintenance spending in real terms over this Parliament.”
Some areas cited in the report as being earmarked include an area on the Somerset Levels which experienced severe flooding for several months last winter. Another council, having paid out £280,000 in grants and relief after a ‘major incident’ has allocated a flood plain for development. However they have agreed that flood defenses need to be built by 2035. More houses are planned close to the River Aire in Yorkshire and near flood affected areas near Guildford in Surrey, Derby and Gloucester.
The Environmental Agency along with other experts and campaign groups will be presenting evidence to the House of Lords committee about the issue of development on recognised flood plains.
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