Councils ignoring flood-risk concerns

By David GreenCOUNCILS in East Anglia are ignoring Environment Agency concerns over development in areas at risk of flooding, it has claimed.The biggest culprit, according to the latest planning register compiled by the Environment Agency, is Mid Suffolk District Council.

By David Green

COUNCILS in East Anglia are ignoring Environment Agency concerns over development in areas at risk of flooding, it has claimed.

The biggest culprit, according to the latest planning register compiled by the Environment Agency, is Mid Suffolk District Council.

The Environment Agency, which is concerned about increasing risks presented by the sea level rise, has no powers to stop councils granting planning permission for development in flood-risk areas.


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However, it is one of the bodies routinely consulted when councils determine planning applications.

In 99 planning applications during the first quarter of this year, the Environment Agency objected to development proposals on flood-risk grounds.

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But the latest planning register compiled by the Environment Agency revealed 14 developments had been given the go-ahead despite its objections.

Five of the 14 planning permissions were granted by Mid Suffolk District Council, with the other consents given by Great Yarmouth Borough, North Norfolk District, South Norfolk District and Broadland District Councils.

Stan Jeavons, operations team manager for the Environment Agency, said there was concern that some councils were not taking its views seriously enough.

“The situation is improving, but we would like to see local authorities observe Government planning guidance and assess the flood risk over the whole of their areas,” he added.

David Ellis, head of environment and planning for Mid Suffolk District Council, said it had a good working relationship with the Environment Agency and always paid the closest attention to its comments.

The council has signed up to a memorandum of understanding between the Local Government Association and the Environment Agency, including the protocol on flood defence.

“Nevertheless, this close consultation does not necessarily mean that the local planning authority is bound to follow the agency's recommendation on every occasion, as other material considerations may be sufficient to outweigh these particular objections,” said Mr Ellis.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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