COMMONS

MPs criticise Government's sub-standard response on flood prevention report

24 January 2017

MPs today criticised the Government for missing opportunities to act on its report on improving flood protection for communities at risk across England. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee's future flood prevention report published in November 2016 recommended action to tackle fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood management. MPs were disappointed with the Government's cursory response which failed to address fully its calls for improvement.

Committee calls for greater safeguards

The Committee had called upon the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to provide greater safeguards and assurance to local communities through stronger planning rules and improvements to flood insurance coverage. It also found that the Government needs to develop robust long-term plans and to fundamentally overhaul governance and streamline delivery of flood risk management.

Defra has not committed to taking forward key recommendations, including those calling on the Government to:

  • Implement a statutory duty on developers to provide redress where development not meeting planning conditions causes increased flood risk
  • Require local authorities to publish annual summaries of planning decisions approved against Environment Agency advice
  • Give water and sewage companies a statutory role in consultation on planning applications to prevent new development adding to flood risk
  • Commit to a timetable to amend building regulations, if a voluntary approach cannot be agreed, to ensure that homes in flood risk areas are more resistant to flood damage
  • Give the Fire and Rescue Service a statutory duty to provide emergency flood response with guarantees of sufficient resources
  • Appoint a new National Floods Commissioner for England to bring greater co-ordination between the Environment Agency and local and regional bodies

Measures to improve flood protection

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Acting Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said:

"People living in areas of flood risk need to be reassured that the Government is acting to improve our disjointed flood management system. Defra has failed to give sufficient justification for its rejection of our recommendations for important new measures to improve flood protection.

Ministers must give us more detailed information on how the Government is using its £2.5 billion flood defence budget to slow the flow of water across river catchments so as to stop communities flooding in future. 

Ministers must also update us on their actions to ensure that the insurance, planning and building regulation regimes reduce flood risk and improve property resilience."

Further information

Image: PA

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