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Can we build enough new houses without risking further floods? Lords Committee to ask Environment Agency

The House of Lords Committee on the Built Environment will this week take evidence from the Environment Agency, discussing how to secure resilient new development in the face of flood risk, and how national policymakers can help to protect existing buildings from serious flooding. The issue has come to prominence this week as Storm Desmond causes significant flooding and damage to property across the north of the country.

The Committee will also hear from the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management and then The Edge, a built environment think tank, and the Urban Design Group.

The Committee will take evidence from 10:10am on Thursday 10 December in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords. The full witness details are:


  • Tony Grayling, Director of Sustainable Business and Development, Environment Agency
  • David Wilkes, Honorary Vice-President, Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management


  • Simon Foxell, The Edge
  • Barry Sellers, Urban Design Group

The first session will focus on whether national built environment policy gives sufficient regard to environmental resilience and sustainable drainage systems in mitigating flood risk, the potential conflict between the urgent need for new housing and the risks of development on flood plains, and the challenge of improving the environmental resilience of existing housing.

In the second session the Committee will ask the witnesses about design standards in the built environment, how cross-disciplinary working in local authority planning departments can be encouraged and whether the government should appoint a chief built environment advisor to champion design standards and sustainability.

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