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Pitt puts flood defence pressure on developers

Developers will be expected to pay a higher price for schemes they plan for flood prone areas after the disasters of summer 2007, Sir Michael Pitt said last week.

Pitt, updating officials at the Local Government Information Unit on his review of last summer's floods, added that planners may have to think in terms of inland retreat in the future. That would mean abandoning areas that are set to become undefendable against surface and river flooding.

He told councils not to expect hand outs from central government except in dire emergencies and instead to use their planning powers to make developers pay the true cost of flood mitigation and adaptation measures.

"There will never be enough money for all the flood schemes there will be a demand for," he told delegates.

"A lot of funding will have to come from the client. Local government has to be much tougher on developers and work out the impacts of new developments on others."

He urged the councillors and council leaders present to be tougher in the use of their planning powers under PPS25 to say which developments can be built and what sort of defence measures will be needed.

"We may all need to look at the concept of inland retreat," he warned. "Are there some places that are unsustainable that we ought to be retreating from?"

Pitt's interim report suggested developers should no longer have an automatic right to be connected to local drainage systems and urged councils to demand more SUDS proposals.

"There has to be a new reality around funding. Local developments have to be funded locally."

Pitt said local government should expect properties on the flood path to be designed to be flood resilient. "We feel we are pushing at an open door in terms of getting the Building Regulations amended," he added.

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