Flood Ark

Flood Strategy at Odds with Building Programme

11/08/2020 flood strategy report

Last month, the government published their Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Policy. The strategy sets out how the government will spend the £5.2 billion over 7 years promised in the Spring Budget. Critics approve of the plans for more ‘natural’ flood defences, but say the plans don’t go far enough to prevent developers from building on flood plains.

Natural Solutions

The favoured solution of ecologists and environmental scientists are flood defences that are engineered into the landscape: natural ponds, sinks, soaks and overflows that can handle excess water and provide a habitat for wildlife. The strategy makes important headway in acknowledging the links between water management and flood risk mitigation.

Demountable Barriers

In many built up areas, it would be impossible to introduce the kind of natural solutions described above. The strategy recognises this and calls for an integrated approach: deploying the technological approach of demountable barriers and temporary flood defences where appropriate.

The government strategy describes the difference between demountable barriers and temporary flood defences in a section looking at how 3000 homes were protected in Exeter. 

“Demountable barriers differ from temporary defences. They are designed structures specific to a location and are very reliable once deployed. They are a designed solution to provide flood risk reduction in difficult situations where permanent defences are not feasible.”

Criticism of the Strategy

Government reports are often as interesting for what they omit as what they say. A hoped-for clause restricting building on flood plains was not included in the strategy. Since 2013, 1 in 10 new homes has been built in an area at risk of flooding - that’s around 85,000 properties.

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice told the Guardian he was considering giving the Environment Agency more powers to prevent development in areas at risk from flooding. Building on floodplains is clearly at odds with the promotion of natural flood mitigation, the Environment Secretary needs to recognise the contradiction and act. 

But with the Prime Minister pushing ‘Project Speed’ to get the construction sector of the economy moving, it would take a person of great principle to oppose him on grounds of logic, consistency and safety. 

Our Flood Barriers

In cases where many properties or key national assets may be affected by climate change-related flooding, it makes sense for the government to invest in managing flood risk. Where smaller groups of properties are affected, it makes sense to make the properties themselves more resilient to flooding. Our flood barriers provide property level protection for properties at risk of flooding and can meet the flood defence needs of large projects and individual properties.

If you would like to arrange a FREE survey of the flood resilience of your property, please get in touch. We will send an engineer to assess where our barriers could be of use to you. Call our UK office on +44 (0) 1603 879977 or email info@floodark.com

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