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The government has updated planning practice guidance for managing flood risk in a bid to ensure all developments meet “strict criteria” if they are in locations at risk of flooding.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the update to the PPG, published yesterday, will make sure that local communities aren’t negatively impacted as a result of new developments.

The government added the new guidance will leave councils “better placed to apply government policy” that ensures that any homes built in areas of flood risk has built in resilience from flooding – such as by using flood resilient materials and by moving plug sockets up the walls.

>> See also: Flooding in the UK and building for a wetter future

The guidance also provides information on the use of sustainable urban drainage system and controlling surface water run-off, designed to reduce flooding more widely.

greg clark official

National planning policy strongly discourages siting homes in areas of flood risk, however, given the historic location of towns and cities around rivers, there remains strong demand to build in areas of flood risk. Official data suggests around 10% of homes built each year have some level of flood risk, with one 2020 analysis, by think tank Bright Blue, suggesting that as many as 70,000 homes may become uninsurable because of the level of risk.

Levelling up secretary Greg Clark said the new guidance will strengthen councils’ ability to require better flood resilience in new developments. He said: “Councils will need to demonstrate that the development will be safe from flooding for its lifetime, will not increase flood risk elsewhere, and where possible will reduce flood risk overall.”

The government says it has committed £5.2bn to spend on 2,000 flood defence schemes by 2027.