Thousands of new homes planned in high-risk flood zones across England

Greenpeace investigation raises concerns about the ability of the UK’s environmental regulator to manage homebuilding as the climate changes.

Greenpeace writes:

Thousands of homes are set to be built in high-risk flood zones across England, an Unearthed investigation has found, as communities across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands struggle with severe flooding. By cross-referencing housebuilding plans in 10 flood-prone local authorities with the Environment Agency’s (EA) flood risk map, Unearthed has identified proposals to build 9,688 homes in high-risk areas.

Our investigation revealed:

  • Across Lincolnshire, which currently has five flood warnings in place, 5,227 homes are planned in high-risk flood zones.
  • The developments include Boston United Football Club’s new 5,000 seater stadium.
  • In Sheffield and Doncaster, the two areas hit the hardest by recent flooding in England, hundreds of new-builds are planned in high-risk zones. In addition, 5,123 homes are planned for medium-risk areas, including a “new town” just over one mile from Fishlake, which has seen heavy flooding this week.
  • Figures obtained from the EA show that in 2017-18 in almost half the cases where the agency objected to a planning application from a local authority, the EA did not know whether its advice was followed.

What’s the difference between high and medium flood risk?

The Environment Agency defines high-risk flood zones as areas that have a one in 30 chance of flooding in any given year.  Medium-risk zones are defined by the agency as areas with between a one in 30 and a one in 100 chance of flooding in any given year. As climate change continues, flood risk is likely to increase, according to experts contacted by Unearthed.

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