Home England government Over 5,000 houses in England approved for construction in flood-prone areas | Lodging

Over 5,000 houses in England approved for construction in flood-prone areas | Lodging

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More than 5,000 new homes in flood-risk areas of England have been granted building permits so far this year as local authorities try to tackle the housing shortage.

Researchers analyzing 16,000 planning applications filed between January and September found that around 200 had been approved, for a total of 5,283 new homes, in areas where more than 10% of homes were already at significant risk. flood.

Insurers have expressed concern about the number of homes under construction where homeowners are at risk of “traumatic and devastating losses.”

But builders said the need for new homes meant even areas at risk of flooding would have to be used – and with the climate crisis leaving more homes exposed, more defenses and mitigation measures would need to be put in place. .

Martin Milliner, claims manager at LV = General Insurance, who commissioned the report, said: “While we welcome the government‘s commitment to increase housing, we are concerned about the UK’s resilience to future flooding, and in particular the number of new real estate developments. in flood-prone areas undergoing approval.

“Floods are an extremely traumatic event that has a devastating impact on a person’s life, both physically and mentally. “

Andrew Whitaker, Planning Director at the Home Builders Federation, said: “We are facing an acute housing crisis. The development policy is already orienting development away from the areas most exposed to flooding.

“However, when there is no other choice, or sites located in areas at high risk of flooding are the most sustainable sites for other reasons, developments must meet the requirements of ‘extremely strict mitigation. “

Local Government Association for Housing and Environment spokesperson David Renard said nearly 99% of applications were decided in accordance with the Environment Agency’s advice on flood risks.

He added: “Funding for flood defenses must be devolved to local areas to ensure that the money is directed to projects that best reflect local needs. The government is also to introduce mandatory anti-flood requirements for new homes into building regulations. “

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A survey by Greenpeace this year found that a third of England’s largest flood defenses were in private hands, with more than 1,000 in poor condition.

More than 5 million homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding, according to Environment Agency estimates.

The government said it was investing more than £ 5.2 billion in flood and coastal defense in England, which would improve protection for more than 336,000 properties.

A spokesperson said: “Our national planning policy makes it clear that the development of floodplains should be avoided wherever possible, and protections should be put in place when construction in these areas is needed – we expect local planning authorities that they follow these guidelines. “