The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many new housing developments were built in the period 2010 to 2015 against advice given by the Environment Agency. [HL5516]
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The information requested is not collected by the Department. The Environment Agency’s most recent report ‘Managing flood and coastal erosion risks in England’ indicates that between April 2011 and March 2015, over 99 per cent of proposed new homes had planning outcomes in line with Environment Agency advice where they had objected because of concerns about flood risk and had been made aware of the decision.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the recent extensive flooding, they intend to review the sections of the planning practice guidance relating to flood risk. [HL5517]
Baroness Williams of Trafford: Our planning guidance is clear that councils need to consider the strict tests set out in national planning policy, and where these are not met, new development on flood risk sites should not be allowed. These tests, set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, are designed to protect people and property from flooding and give councils the robust ability to reject inappropriate planning applications.
Councils are expected to avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding by directing development away from areas at highest risk, including floodplains. Where development is necessary, it must be demonstrated that it is safe and will not increase flood risk elsewhere.
We are always looking to see what lessons can be learned and what changes should be considered including how local councils plan for development, where they allow building and the account they take of the strict tests set out in national policy to protect people and property from flooding.
My Rt. Hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Oliver Letwin), has already announced that he will chair a National Flood Resilience Review to assess how the country and our communities can be better protected from future flooding and extreme weather events. Additionally, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Elizabeth Truss), has announced that the new Cumbria Floods Partnership group will consider and identify what additional flood protection measures may be needed in Cumbria.