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Thames Gateway plans threatened by flooding row


PROPERTY DEVELOPERS warned this week that regeneration of the Thames Gateway will not go ahead if they are expected to pay for additional flood defences.

The government wants up to 120,000 new homes to be built on flood plain in the Thames Gateway region by 2020 (NCE 29 April).

Flood defences for these homes will cost an estimated £4bn, which the Environment Agency expects to paid for by the developers.

But developers disagree.

'If developers are expected to foot the bill it will render the whole development not financially viable, ' said a spokesman from the House Builders Federation.

'The house building industry is seeking clarity on what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by and who will pay for the work, ' said a Federation spokesman.

The Agency confirmed that developers will be asked to pay for new flood defences, but said that it is too early to say exactly how much this might be.

The Agency expects to consult on a 'strategy envelope', with a range of options to manage flood risk in London for the next 100 years, in the summer.

It is under development as part of the Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 project.

'We will provide a strategy envelope with a suite of high level options including improvement of the existing assets, raising flood walls and controlling development in the flood plain, ' said Agency chairman Sir John Harman, speaking at a lecture in London last week.

Harman also said that there is a general lack of developer awareness with regard to flooding. 'Developers need to be more aware than I think they are at the moment in terms of building flood resilience into their designs, ' he said.

The Federation disagreed and said that it is up to local authorities to advise developers on flood risk and to insist on any design changes.

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