Flood risks provoke building sector row

Developers this week placed responsibility for avoiding construction in flood risk areas firmly with local planning authorities.

The British Property Federation insisted that it is down to councils to reject applications for schemes that may be affected by floods. A spokesman said authorities should refuse schemes if they think there is a risk.

His comments followed the release last week of an Environment Agency report that says many developers are failing to include flood assessments with applications. The lack of a satisfactory assessment accounts for 62 per cent of objections by the agency, it notes.

The annual study found that 13 major developments were built in flood risk locations against its advice, down from 21 the previous year. It also says local authorities failed to notify the agency of the outcome of 43 per cent of cases on which it gave advice in 2006-07.

Acting head of planning and environmental assessment Colin Eastman said this is likely to be because of councils' lack of resources rather than attempts to hide decisions. Under PPS25, councils have to inform the agency of the outcome of cases in which it is involved.

A Local Government Association spokesman maintained that in 96 per cent of the cases that were reported, local authorities followed the agency's advice. This figure is higher than it was last year, he added.

- Development and Flood Risk 2006-07 is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.

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