DCLG moots change to regional spatial strategies on flood risk

Flood risk assessments in regional spatial strategies (RSS) may have to be revised in future to take into account the threat of climate change, it emerged this week.

DCLG director-general of housing and planning Richard McCarthy told the Commons communities and local government select committee that it would consider revising RSSs if it receives advice that would justify a rethink.

MPs are concerned that following the summer floods, housing allocations in RSSs may be recognised as being sited in risk areas.

Asked whether the DCLG is considering handing down revised guidance to amend spatial strategies, McCarthy told the committee that it has no plans at this stage.

The department will wait for advice from the Flooding Lessons Learned review chaired by Sir Michael Pitt, he explained. "We may find that we have to review the cycle of risks of flooding areas and that will inform our test," he said.

DCLG planning officers are leading its involvement in the review, which is due to provide an interim report by the end of the year.

McCarthy assured MPs that the department is consulting the Environment Agency and DEFRA on flood risk issues affecting eco-towns or growth points.

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