House Building on Floodplains
In this island (small island, thank you Bill Bryson), housing is in short supply, and at prices never seen before and still rising, and one of the major problems, is where to put them.
Immigration, a healthy birth rate, and increased longevity have probably played as bigger role in creating the shortage as the seemingly endless supply of money that helps pay for mortgages.
Coupled with a virtual stop of social housing in the quest for building companies profit lines.
Where to build inside the country’s shrinking land area has often been contentious, not least the building of homes on floodplains.
In spite of caveats from both the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) and the EA (Environment Agency), for the ten years from 2001 to 2011, some 2000,000 houses were built on floodplains.
Since 2011 planning regulations have been eased by the Government, allowing more freedom for local authorities to approve planning permission in areas recognised as high risk.
The EA has given its approval in many cases, citing the existing flood prevention measures, and in cases of building ten units or less, the development goes on below the EA’s radar.
Flood Risk Assessments
The building of developments on fluvial flood plains will have to be undertaken, but the developers themselves will have to adhere to flood risk assessments showing the viability of building there in the first place, instead of finding bad news the hard way.
The Government has signalled its tacit approval by coming to an arrangement with insurance companies to enable those who buy, or find themselves in flood risk areas to be able to obtain affordable home insurance.
This initiative is called Flood Re, a flood re-insurance scheme, which takes the flood risk sector of home insurance from an insurer in return for a premium based on the level of the house’s council tax band.
It is estimated that the scheme will, over its 25 year span, assist over a quarter of a million households in flood plain risk areas.
It will apply to properties built up until 2009, so as not to be seen encouraging flood plain development.
Flood plain land is, on the face of things, ideal for developers.
Obviously it is flat, the soil composure is good, and flood plain land is often the cheapest available.
Being an island, in theory everyone lives in an area of flood risk, it’s all a question of the level of risk and there is a whole geography between very, very low and very, very high.