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Better flood protections for new homes

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New homes will be better protected from flooding following changes to planning guidance.

  • Improved planning guidance to help councils consider future flood risk
  • More support to ensure homes are built in low-risk areas with sustainable drainage
  • Helps communities mitigate future impact of climate change

New homes will be better protected from flooding following changes to planning guidance, the government has announced today (25 August 2022).

Updated planning guidance published today will help councils make sure developments meet strict criteria in locations at risk of flooding before they are approved, to ensure local communities aren’t negatively impacted as a result.

The move aims to ensure that developers across England can adapt to the challenges of a changing climate and that new homes are sustainable.

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.”

Floods Minister Steve Double said:

“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.

“This guidance will help ensure new developments are designed with flood resilience in mind and do not increase flood risk elsewhere.

“This will build on our record £5.2 billion investment to build around 2,000 flood schemes by 2027 and level-up defences across England.”

Caroline Douglass, 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 Environment Agency plays an important role in working with planning authorities to ensure new development is both safe and sustainable.

“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.”

Under the changes to the planning practice guidance developments, councils will be better placed to apply government policy, where 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.

Local areas will also have access to 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.

The new planning guidance forms part of the government’s mission to level up and regenerate communities by delivering sustainable and lasting homes. It will also support delivery of the government’s policy statement on flood and coastal erosion risk management and help to achieve our long-term goal to create a nation more resilient to flood and coastal erosion risk.

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