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Flooding and drainage – proposals for planning

27 June 2008

Since last summer’s floods, various reports have indicated that flooding is likely to increase as a result of climate change.

Sir Michael Pitt was appointed to review the flood related emergencies and identify the issues and his interim report was published in December. The report states that flood risk management currently focuses on river and coastal flooding, yet two thirds of the floods last summer were caused by surface water.

The report recommends that local authorities be given responsibility for surface water drainage and sustainable drainage systems (eg green roofs, water butts and permeable pavements) and that homeowners should not be allowed to pave or cover their garden with non-porous material, such as cement, without obtaining planning permission. Many front gardens and driveways are, of course, laid over the drainage systems leading from our homes to the public drains.

The final report is due out in late summer –  it will be interesting to see whether or not this planning requirement is incorporated. We suspect there may be one or two objections if it is!

In the meantime, a new planning policy statement has been issued requiring planning authorities to reduce the risk of flooding on new development sites by promoting the use of sustainable drainage systems. The policy even goes so far as to suggest that such drainage systems should be incorporated from the start into all planning applications on new developments and that this should be the norm rather than the exception.

As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

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Alasdair Garbutt LLB (Hons)
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Alasdair Garbutt
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