A looming flood crisis? More than 5,000 new homes to be built in high flood-risk areas 


Planning permission has been granted for 5,283 new homes in the highest-risk local authorities for flooding, a new report has revealed.

Commissioned by LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) and independent think tank Localis the report – which carries out a detailed analysis of UK planning applications – revealed that of the above the vast majority (4,255) are in areas pre-identified as highly likely to flood.

Yorkshire and The Humber and the East Midlands were highlighted as the regions most affected. Here nearly half of these homes are situated on a major new development on a floodplain in North Lincolnshire.

Further data showed that in the top five local authorities at risk of flooding – South Holland, Boston, Fenland, Runnymede and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk – just under a third (31 per cent) of approved planning permissions for new residential buildings on floodplains didn’t come with a flood-risk assessment – a planning-stage assessment of a development's flood risk.

Commenting LV= GI claims director Martin Milliner said: "Flooding is an extremely traumatic event which has a devasting impact on a person’s life, both physically and mentally. This research highlights a concerning amount of current and future development in high flood risk areas.

"To tackle this, we need to come together and develop a holistic approach to flooding for the long term, with property developers, insurers and Government – both nationally and locally – tackling the issue of building on floodplains.”

In response to the above findings Localis and LV= GI have made a number of policy recommendations which include:

Planning reforms

Floodplain development should be avoided wherever possible and should be accompanied by appropriate flood defences, constructed alongside new developments, where unavoidable.

Funding recommendations

Specific funding should be made available to establish a new cross-departmental task force to look at flood-risk development. A new ministerial post, between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), should be set up to oversee and provide accountability for this task force.

A future risk-based approach to development

The insurance industry should work with the government, local authorities, developers and other key stakeholders to help inform what measures might be needed in the future to help mitigate against climate change and ensure that homes are and remain insurable.


Details of CIWEM's forthcoming Property Flood Resilience course

Learning from the flood survivors who built back better

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