Azara Blog: Flood risk to new homes

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Date published: 2005/02/01

The BBC says:

Better planning is needed to cut the risk of flooding in areas where the government plans to build thousands of new homes, insurers have warned.

The Association of British Insurers said up to 10,000 of the 1.1 million homes to be built in south-east England by 2016 were located in the floodplain.

It said the cost of flooding could rise by £55m a year, and some houses could be uninsurable without more safeguards.

The government said the report showed careful planning could manage the risk.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott last week confirmed proposals for 1.1 million new homes to be built in the south-east over the next 11 years.

The scheme targets four growth areas - Milton Keynes and the south Midlands, Ashford in Kent, the Thames Gateway in south Essex and north Kent, and a strip running from Peterborough to London.

The M11 corridor (from London to Cambridge, and artificially extended up to Peterborough for politically correct reasons) should be a growth area. Unfortunately the politicians have paid scant regard to flood risk. In Cambridge, for example, the area around Riverside and the old Simoco site on the other side of the river have both been targeted for development. That area of the Cam has flooded three times since 2000, and if you believe the dire global warming predictions things will only get worse in future. You can always build houses a few feet up off the flood level. This is relatively easy for Riverside (there is a natural slope) but in the case of the Simoco site this would be particularly bad because it would remove a natural water meadow and make the flooding worse downstream.

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