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Property Development: Floods

Question for Department for Communities and Local Government

UIN HL5305, tabled on 21 January 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will amend guidance to planning authorities in order to strengthen their advice on (1) measures for the prevention and alleviation of flooding when determining planning applications, including off-site improvement works funded by section 106 obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy; (2) effective sustainable drainage systems; and (3) restrictions on building on flood plains and other sites with a high liability to flooding.

Answered on

3 February 2016

We already have clear, robust planning policy and guidance on flood risk in place. There are strict tests in the National Planning Policy Framework to protect people and property from flooding which all local planning authorities are expected to follow, underpinned by our on-line planning practice guidance.

The Framework is clear that through their Local Plans and planning decisions, local planning authorities should avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding by directing development away from areas at highest risk, including floodplains. They should develop policies to manage flood risk from all sources and look to safeguard land from development that is required for flood management. They should also use opportunities offered by new development to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding. The Framework makes clear that new development should not increase flood risk elsewhere. In areas at risk of flooding, the Framework states the development should only be considered appropriate where it gives priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems.

Planning law requires that planning applications must be determined in accordance with the development plan for the area, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Framework is a material consideration in planning decisions.

Updated planning guidance is designed to support local planning authorities in the effective implementation of these policies. This includes guidance on sustainable drainage systems which was strengthened last year and the use of mitigation measures to make development safe. Where appropriate, local planning authorities can secure off-site works through planning obligations or the Community Infrastructure Levy. We have made very clear in the guidance that where the Framework’s tests to protect people and property from flooding are not met new development should not be allowed.