Developers could be liable for flood damage to buildings

As 70% of flood damage is caused by surface water run-off, it’s not only climate change we have to worry about. Every time another area is covered by roads and buildings, there is less natural drainage, so anybody could be at risk.

A recent article by Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst made some very interesting observations. pointing out that new housing developments that contribute to the risk of flooding are still being built, according to some MPs.

House builders are supposed to create housing schemes that catch water with features like green roofs and porous road surfaces.

The government has frequently said it’s committed to reducing flood risk. But the Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs committee says rules on drainage for new homes are still weak and poorly enforced.

The MPs say this has to change, because the government’s commitment of a million new homes by 2020 must be achieved without an increase in flood risk. The idea of catching water where it falls has shot up the policy agenda following heavy flooding in recent years.

In November, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee – made up of MPs from across the political spectrum – released their report on Future Flood Prevention, outlining the steps they see as necessary to reduce the impact of extreme future weather. According to a recent piece, published byAmbiental,  more onus should be placed on developers.

As a further incentive to minimise poor development, the Committee suggest stronger powers for holding developers to account for poor planning. They propose naming and shaming those ignoring advice on drainage by publishing an ‘annual summary of planning decisions taken against EA advice’.

They also want to ‘place statutory liability on developers to meet costs of flooding where development fails to comply with planning conditions.’ All of these measures should help to prevent flooding risk being exacerbated by irresponsible development.

The committee launched a public inquiry and took evidence from a number of interested parties and experts in the area, as well as undertaking visits to the Somerset Levels, Pickering, York, the Netherlands, and the ‘Moorsfor the Future’ project near Sheffield.

The report highlights previous issues with irresponsible development in floodplains, and proposes new measures to hold developers to account.

There is an emphasis on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) in new developments. The committee urge Defra to ‘set out how the Government’s review of sustainable drainage regulations will ensure that SUDs are deployed to maximum effect in all new Englishdevelopments.’

They also suggest more joined up thinking is required in this area, proposing that water and sewerage organisations should have a say in the planning process, so as to pre-empt future flood risks caused by poorly drained developments.

At Floodex UK, you’ll be able to engage with experts and consultants, harvesting advice on what you could and should be doing. New long-range mapping techniques could allow lenders and insurers to take a long-term view on whether a property is at risk, even 10 years or more from now – and this could affect lending and insurance decisions

Talk to the people and organizations on the exhibition stands and in the seminars, who can help you explore solutions with the latest equipment, technology, services and knowledge. It’s one or two days out of your year that could continue to pay dividends for months and even years to come, whilst making you more effective, efficient and possibly even save you money.

We are honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester on Wed 17th May to Floodex UK. His Royal Highness will look forward to meeting exhibitors and attendees, to discuss all matters related to drainage, water level management and flood risk management.

Henry Cator, ADA’s Chairman added:

“We are delighted to welcome His Royal Highness back to an ADA event and we greatly value his support over the years. ADA very much looks forward to showing him the best of our Industry at FLOODEX in May.”

If you are responsible for managing or developing property and land, you really should look at future-proofing yourself and look to make future decision, better equipped and more knowledgeable by spending a little time at Floodex Uk, 17th -18th May at Peterborough Arena. See www.floodex.co.uk for more information and register for a free ticket.