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Bigger planning role for Environment Agency

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY officials will get more control over new developments in flood plains under the new strategy for managing flooding and coastal defence.

Local authorities that go against Agency advice and give permission for development to go ahead in flood risk areas could find themselves overruled by central government under the new proposals.

DEFRA last week launched a review of planning rules, covered in planning policy guidance note 25 (PPG25).

This proposes to give the Environment Agency more say in flood plain development by making it a statutory consultee for all developments proposed in flood risk areas.

The number of developments going ahead against the Agency's advice is falling. But the government wants to include a mechanism to allow the development to be referred to the environment secretary for an ultimate decision.

DEFRA said it was not ruling out development in food risk areas and pointed out that many of the 200,000 homes to be built in the Thames Gateway will be in a flood plain (NCE 1 July).

Bernadette Redfern

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