Sunday, 19 January 2014

PRESS RELEASE New homes must reduce the impact of Flooding and heavy rainfall

Andrew Cooper speaking at a Parliamentary Select Cttee on flood funding in 2013
A Green Party speaker has expressed shock that the Government may be about to tear up plans that protect against flooding in favour of an easier planning regime for builders.
Cllr Andrew Cooper, who is lead Green candidate for Yorkshire & The Humber in May’s European elections and also speaks nationally for the party on energy and the environment, said that the aims of the 2010 Flood Act to ensure that building developments minimised the risk of flooding are more important now than ever.

“Just in the last fortnight, we have seen phenomenal weather storms that have battered towns and communities across Britain,” said Cllr Andrew Cooper. “Our region was perhaps spared the worst this time, but we have had plenty of instances of severe flooding across Yorkshire and the Humber – just ask people in Hebden Bridge, Barrow Haven or Walsden[1]. It is important that the Government and local authorities ensure that developers build housing that doesn’t just withstand the growing number of extreme weather events we are seeing, but plays a part in reducing the impact of heavy rainfall and floods.”

Central to Cllr Cooper’s concerns are calls from the House Builders’ Federation to drop planning requirements for drainage systems to be included in building developments[2]. Instead, the HBF argue that councils should be responsible for building and maintaining higher capacity sewage systems to take away excess water – councils have responded by asking the Government to let them bill owners’ of new houses for the cost of this if the HBF’s proposal is adopted.

“This is simply ludicrous,” Cllr Andrew Cooper said. “The HBF seems to be purely concerned about minimising developers’ costs, and maximising their profits, rather than considering the impact of their activities on local communities and even on the people they sell their houses to. Why should local taxpayers or new home owners foot the bill for building companies’ wanting to cut corners and save on their costs at the price of increased flooding?”

Cllr Andrew Cooper said that the Green Party has had deep concerns about the Coalition’s intentions on development even before it published its National Planning Policy Framework[3], which many environmental experts have argued is a gift to land-grabbing developers rather than a plan for sustainable housing.

“Any new building needs to take account of the changes to weather we are seeing already,” said Cllr Cooper, “but more than that, architects, planners and developers need to be thinking constantly about how their work impacts on our society and environment. Cutting costs today simply piles up an ever bigger price to pay in future"


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