Extract from the SWENVO
The state of a floodplain is an example of the outcome of natural pressures such as flooding and human pressures such as development. Historically, many settlements grew around river crossing points, which has required subsequent engineering works to try to reduce the flood risk for people and property. These flood defences require costly and ongoing maintenance, but can never completely remove the flood risk.
The flooding of floodplain areas is both a natural and desirable process, where it can occur without risk to human life. The effectiveness of rivers and floodplains to convey and to store flood water, and minimise flood risks, can be adversely affected by human activity, especially by development which physically changesthe floodplain.
According to the Environment Agency, there are five million people and two million properties at risk of flooding in England and Wales. In the South West, this amounts to 100,000 properties and around £20 million being spent a year on flood defence.
More planning authorities are heeding Environment Agency warnings against building on flood plains, although there is still too much inappropriate development taking place in areas of flood risk.
Nationally 21% of planning applications against which the Environment Agency sustained objections in 2002/2003 were over-ruled by planning authorities, although this is an improvement from 37% recorded in 2001/2002.
In the South West, 9% of residential planning applications were for construction on floodplains. There are currently 30,000 properties in the region at risk of flooding, below the national average. 30,000 of these properties currently receive some protection from flooding and the Environment Agency's flood warning system is widely available.
Labels: floodplains development