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