Gove warned of climate change floods risk

By Mark Conrad | 22 November 2021

Local government secretary Michael Gove was today urged to align UK housing policy with climate change.

It comes as the centre-right Localis think-tank published new research showing that almost 200 local authority planning permissions have been granted on floodplain lands this year alone – involving some 5,283 homes.

According to Localis, the ‘overwhelming majority’ of these new homes - some 4,255 - have been built in areas ‘pre-identified as most likely to flood’.

Following a string of major and expensive floods across the UK in the past decade, housing experts and insurers are baffled at developers’ continuing fixation with such land.

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: ‘There is a clear need to reset Government policy and regulation to prevent an otherwise unavoidable 50% uptick in the numbers of houses being built on floodplains over the next half century. 

‘At the same time, with climate change another unavoidable reality, we need to strengthen communities to become resilient in adapting to, living with and responding to flood pressures.’

Claims director at LV General Insurance, Martin Milliner, said the Localis report highlighted a ‘concerning’ problem.

He continued: ‘Climate change will increase the UK’s exposure to weather-related hazards such as flooding and it’s vital we prepare for this.

'While we welcome the Government’s commitment to increase housing we have concerns about the UK’s resilience to future flood events and, in particular, the number of new housing developments in flood risk areas that are still receiving approval.

‘With those involved in the planning process ignoring the current guidance, this runs the risk of putting an ever-increasing number of communities at risk.’

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Climate change Whitehall Business Planning Flooding Chief executives Policy Housing Localis Michael Gove
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