News: Extreme flooding dont dally over planning

On the eve of a conference on the country’s preparedness to extreme weather conditions a professional body of scientists and engineers is questioning the government's plans for the building of a number of new communities on low lying land within the south east of England.

Annual flooding damage is estimated to cost the British economy £1bn but this figure could rise to £25 billion by 2080 if the worst case scenario of extreme flooding occurs.

A report from the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management said that it questioned the government’s wisdom in relocating people to low lying areas. In the Thames Gateway alone over 36,000 homes are proposed for areas at risk from tidal flooding, it pointed out.

Instead, the government should be forward planning to move communities away from flood risk areas, CIWEM said.

The report argues for new planning powers and changes to compulsory purchase law which prevented a major obstacle to moving communities away from affected coastal areas.

In contrast, the joint conference with Defra on Wednesday ‘Preparedness for Extreme Flooding Events: Acting on the Lessons’ will seek to provide answers on a range of issues, through sustainable flood risk management such as effective land use planning and more wetlands to protect against storms, to accurate flood warning and co-ordinated emergency responses.

David Rooke, head of flood risk management at the Environment Agency, will chair the sessions which will draw information from a wide range of sources, including examples of extreme floods such as New Orleans, Boscastle and Carlisle.

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