Sunday, 7 July 2013

NPPF effectiveness "in preventing new development from increasing flood risk"

A cross-party group of MPs sitting on the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has made a number of recommendations in its recent report Managing Flood Risk.

The report opens by firstly acknowledging that "Record-breaking rainfall this year and last has led to a series of flood events which have had major impacts on many communities across the UK. The frequency and severity of such flood events are predicted to increase in future years."

The Committee is concerned primarily that too much building is still taking place in areas of high flood risk, and that the NPPF may not be effective enough in preventing inappropriate developments. Paragraph 54 of the report, under Planning Issues, states:
We recommend that the Government review how effective the National Planning Policy Framework has been in preventing new development from increasing flood risk. If necessary, guidance must be amended to enable local authorities to reject planning applications where flood risk will be increased as a result of building in a specific location.
The Committee may have had housing in mind, but such guidance should equally apply to quarries. The climate is changing, in unpredictable ways, and planning must ensure that any proposals are robust, or "Climate Ready". As things stand, if the NPPF is not up to the job in preventing housing being built in flood plains, how would Ottery St Mary fare when it comes to a quarrying proposal at Straitgate Farm affecting four streams, 100m above a town with recognised flooding issues?