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Property Development: Floods

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new dwellings have been built in areas designated as being at high flood risk in each Government Office region in each year since 1997. (252286)

Between 1997 and 2007 an estimated 151,900 dwellings were built in areas of high flood risk, less than 10 per cent. of the total number of homes completed in England in that period. The following table gives a breakdown by year and region over that time. These figures have been estimated by applying the proportion of all new dwellings built in areas of high flood risk, as recorded by Land Use Change Statistics, to the published total number of house building completions. These estimates are not precise, and have therefore been rounded to the nearest 100 dwellings.

Land Use Change Statistics Live Table 251 gives a regional breakdown of the percentage of all new dwellings that were built in areas of high flood risk. The table can be found at

http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningbuilding/planningstatistics/livetables/landusechange/

Housing Live Table 217 gives the number of permanent dwellings started and completed, by region and quarter. The table can be found at

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/housebuilding/livetables/

High flood risk areas account for about 10 per cent. of land in England.

Planning policy on development and flood risk was strengthened in 2006 with the publication of Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25), reflecting the importance of avoiding and managing flood risk in the location of new development. The Government’s policy is to avoid inappropriate development in areas of risk of flooding, and to direct development away from areas at highest risk. However it is not always possible to find a location at low flood risk. In parts of the country where virtually all land is within high flood risk areas and there are few, if any, low risk sites for development PPS25 imposes new requirements on planners to show that the need for development outweighs the flood risk, and to ensure that homes that have to be built in higher risk areas are safe and less susceptible to flood damage.

Number of dwellings built in flood risk areas, 1997-2007

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

1997-2007

North East

200

100

100

0

100

100

200

100

100

100

200

1,500

North West

1,000

1,200

800

1,100

1,400

1,100

1,400

1,000

900

1,200

1,100

12,100

Yorkshire and the Humber

1,700

800

1,300

1,700

1,500

1,400

2,000

1,300

1,800

2,300

3,200

19,100

East Midlands

1,600

800

1,200

1,500

1,500

2,100

1,900

1,700

1,700

2,300

2,400

18,700

West Midlands

600

800

800

400

500

900

400

700

600

800

500

6,900

East of England

1,500

1,100

1,300

1,100

900

1,300

1,400

1,400

1,900

2,100

1,700

15,800

London

3,400

3,500

3,200

3,000

2,900

3,200

4,700

6,600

3,100

3,600

4,100

41,300

South East

1,800

1,900

2,000

1,900

1,800

1,600

2,100

1,800

1,900

2,300

1,800

21,100

South West

1,700

1,000

1,400

1,300

1,500

1,700

1,500

1,300

1,400

1,600

1,200

15,500

England

13,500

11,400

12,300

12,000

12,100

13,400

15,600

15,900

13,300

16,400

16,200

151,900

Notes:

1. There is an inevitable time-lag between land use change occurring and it being recorded, therefore data are constantly being updated.

2. The data in the table are based on records received from Ordnance Survey up to June 2008, consistent with the October 2008 update of LUCS.

3. Figures may not add up due to rounding.

4. The definition of high flood risk areas used by Communities and Local Government is the high risk zone mapped by the Environment Agency as being at a probability of flooding, excluding the presence of flood defences, of at least one in one hundred each year for river flooding and at least one in 200 for coastal flooding. High flood risk areas account for about 10 per cent. of land in England, including parts of major cities such as London.