MPs warn over sustainable drainage exemptions

Reports that the Committee on Climate Change has written to the environment secretary to complain that plans to exclude small developments from requirements to fit sustainable drainage systems will increase flood risk feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription required) reports that the committee has written to Liz Truss complaining of a "significant weakening" of the plans to boost the use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) which are intended to reduce flood risk. The newspaper says Lord Krebs, the chairman of the committee, said 100,000 minor residential applications had been approved last year. "This type of small-scale development can exacerbate surface water flood risk by placing extra pressure on existing sewer and drainage networks in built up areas", he said.

The Guardian reports that energy network operator National Grid "has moved to reassure households and businesses it will have enough power supply even in a cold winter after a spate of fires and power plant closures helped to cut spare capacity to an eight-year low".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that coastal communities in England and Wales "tend to be older, sicker, less diverse and more economically insecure than the rest of the country, according to an analysis of official data". The newspaper says that, "examining the most recent census data for 273 ‘built-up areas’ on the coast, the Office for National Statistics found that a fifth of those living in these communities were aged 65 or over, compared with 16 per cent for England and Wales as a whole". It adds that the "under-65s in these areas were more likely to report a long-term health problem that limited daily activities ‘a lot’ – 7 per cent compared with a national average of 5.7 per cent".

The Independent reports that a skatepark "dating back to the sport’s 1970s peak" has been granted Grade II status by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. The paper says that "with its half-pipe, moguls and special skating pool, the Rom skatepark in Hornchurch, east London, is a far cry from the majority of listed buildings. But as only the second in the world to achieve listed status, heritage bosses said the elaborate 1978 concrete construction was an important example of youth culture in the UK".

The Guardian reports that "the death of the London property market may be premature. A gap between two shops has sold at auction for more than a quarter of a million pounds". The newspaper says the 0.016 acre site in Battersea "which is currently a hole between other buildings but has planning permission for a studio" fetched £260,000 at auction "more than four times its £55,000 guide price".

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