Agency pressed for firmer flood advice

The Environment Agency must have a greater role in advising local authorities on developments in flood risk areas, said Gloucestershire County Council this week.

An investigation by the council into this summer's flooding found that many developments in the county's flood plain have been allowed without objection from the agency.

There are currently planning permissions for around 1,000 homes in Gloucestershire's flood plain. In October, permission was granted for 107 homes in Tewkesbury on land that was 2.5m below water during the July floods.

The agency claimed that the site has a less than one per cent annual probability of flooding and therefore lies outside the guidance of PPS25 on flooding.

Environment Agency regional flood risk manager for the Midlands Jonathan Morgans told the council: "You could have development that could put people at risk of flooding and still comply with PPS25."

The council wants the agency to be able to offer an independent view on the flood risk associated with new developments, as well as advising on whether or not an application complies with PPS25.

The council also questioned the validity of the planning policy, introduced less than a year ago. The once-in-100-years event threshold for developments should be revised, it argued.

Scrutiny Inquiry into the Summer Flooding Emergency is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.


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