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Building on floodplains may go on, warns Environment Agency chief

NEW PLANNING guidelines designed to stop construction on floodplains will be too weak to stop development in areas at risk from floods, Environment Agency chief executive Geoff Mance warned this week.

Mance said that the draft wording of the guidelines was 'ambiguous' and would fail to prevent local authorities from approving development on cheap, flat floodplain land.

The guidelines are due to be published at the end of the year.

They are designed to encourage local authorities to turn down plans to build in high risk flood areas - as designated by EA flood maps - on a case by case basis.

Mance fears the wording will not be strong enough.

'We want the new guidelines to be as clear as possible, ' he told NCE. 'They need to set a presumption against any building in a floodplain.'

A Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions spokesman defended the draft guidance saying that central government wanted local government to retain control over planning decisions.

Mance is particularly concerned that planners are having to reconcile demands for over 4M new homes in England and Wales with 'more extreme and frequent rainfall'.

Nina Lovelace

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