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Flood risk guidance will help local authorities make sustainable planning decisions

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the National Flood Forum have published guidance for Local Authorities on planning in flood risk areas.
The guidance aims to help Local Authorities in England when producing Local Plans and dealing with planning applications in flood risk areas, and complements the Government’s recently published National Planning Policy Framework.

Sustainable planning must take account of flood risk to prevent unwise developments in flood risk areas and ensure homes and businesses can continue to obtain flood insurance. The ABI has long campaigned for this and we are pleased that the National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that flood risk should be considered in the planning process.

The ABI and National Flood Forum guidance sets out five key recommendations which Local Authorities can follow to help make sustainable planning decisions, such as taking account of all sources of flooding and climate change.

James Dalton, Assistant Director of General Insurance at the ABI, said:

“It is vital that new developments are insurable and carefully considering flood risk during the planning process is key to achieving this. We are pleased that the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework recognises the importance of flood risk, and the guidance we have produced should help Local Authorities make sensible planning decisions that help ensure flood insurance remains as widely available as possible.”
Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum, commented:

“People rightly feel angry when new developments are built in areas likely to flood and communities despair when they put existing housing at greater flood risk. If it raises their insurance premiums or makes their homes uninsurable too this is plainly unfair. The Government’s new planning framework recognises this and this guidance will help decision makers to protect people.”

The five key recommendations from the guidance are:

1. Ensure strong relationships with technical experts on flood risk.
2. Consider flooding from all sources, taking account of climate change.
3. Take potential impacts on drainage infrastructure seriously.
4. Ensure that flood risk is mitigated to acceptable levels for proposed developments.
5. Make sure Local Plans take account of all relevant costs and are regularly reviewed.

‘Guidance on Insurance and Planning in Flood Risk Areas’ is available at:

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Last updated 01/07/2016