9,000 new homes fast tracked for flood zones

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

Thousands of new homes in the ‘fast track’ UK Government’s housing development zones are in flood zones.

This means that these homes could be become uninsurable and in the event of flooding, uninhabitable. These building schemes could become even more unsafe as Government funding for flood controls are uncertain. According to the National Audit Office funding for the Environment Agency fell 10% in real terms during the last government.

A Greenpeace investigation used a Freedom of Information request to access information about these housing zones and cross-referenced it with flood risk maps from the EA (Environment Agency)

The research found:

Of the 20 zones planned, nine were fully or partially exposed to serious risk of flooding

Of the nine, six areas overlapped with high probability flood risk zones meaning they had a 1 in 100 or higher annual probability of river flooding

Around 9,000 new homes are planned in the areas now identified as being partially or fully at risk from flooding.

In Yorkshire there have been flood warnings along the River Ouse in zones ministers have allocated for homebuilding. In Wakefield areas near to planned developments were under water in the recent floods that caused so many problems across the UK.

Another example is from Hinkley, Bridgwater, Somerset where 1,000 homes are planned in an area that was severely affected by the floods of 2014.

The planned homes would also not qualify for the government’s flood-insurance scheme – as they would be built after 2009 possibly leaving homeowners to foot the bill for any flood damage.

Mary Dhonau OBE, a flood campaigner said: “No developer in their right mind would build a house in the middle of the river so why build it where we know the river will be when the floods come? It’s setting people up for misery.”

A Government spokesman said: “This Government takes flood risks extremely seriously and we are investing £2.3bn in flood defences over the next six years, as well as protecting flood maintenance spending in real terms over this Parliament.

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