Government is ‘Missing Opportunities’ to Protect Communities from Flooding

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The Government has been strongly criticised by MPs for failing to heed a report calling for far-reaching reforms to better protect communities from flooding.

In November, the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) select committee called for an overhaul of governance and flood management in England (MPs Demand Major Flood Reforms).

Now the Efra committee says it is “disappointed with the Government’s cursory response” and has criticised the Government for missing opportunities to act on their Future Flood Prevention report, which was published after a thorough parliamentary inquiry.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Acting Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said that communities needed to be reassured that the Government is “acting to improve our disjointed flood management system”.

“Ministers must give us more detailed information on how the Government is using its £2.5 billion flood defence budget to slow the flow of water across river catchments so as to stop communities flooding in future,” he said.

In a statement published on the EFRA Committee website, the MPs say that Defra has not committed to take forward key recommendations to:

  • Implement a statutory duty on developers to provide redress where development not meeting planning conditions causes increased flood risk
  • Require local authorities to publish annual summaries of planning decisions approved against Environment Agency advice
  • Give water and sewage companies a statutory role in consultation on planning applications to prevent new development adding to flood risk
  • Commit to a timetable to amend building regulations, if a voluntary approach cannot be agreed, to ensure that homes in flood risk areas are more resistant to flood damage
  • Give the Fire and Rescue Service a statutory duty to provide emergency flood response with guarantees of sufficient resources
  • Appoint a new National Floods Commissioner for England to bring greater co-ordination between the Environment Agency and local and regional bodies

In December, Mark Goodger’s blog  Are Water Companies the ‘Missing Link’ for SuDS Adoption? considered some of the implications and conclusions of the Efra Future Flood Prevention Report.

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