CITY OF YORK LOCAL PLAN DEPOSIT DRAFT AS
AMENDED BY PRE-INQUIRY CHANGE 25 (MARCH 1999)
Proposals for development within flood plains
or other areas liable to flood will only be permitted where the
proposal will not be at the risk from flooding and/or significantly
increase the risk of flooding elsewhere. Where detailed technical
investigations are required to evaluate the risk of flooding,
these shall be carried out by the developer.
2.34 Flooding is an important land use planning
consideration for the City of York, and work has been undertaken
in recent years to achieve flood protection in an environmentally
friendly manner. Given that the Rivers Ouse and Foss both run
through the centre of York it will continue to be important to
balance the pressure for new development with the alleviation
of potential flooding. There is also a need for the beneficial
effects of flooding on the natural environment to be effectively
2.35 Unless carefully sited and designed,
new development or redevelopment adjacent to rivers can exacerbate
the risk and problems of flooding, erosion and pollution downstream
by increasing surface water run off from impermeable surfaces
or by reducing flood plain capacity. Accordingly, the Environment
Agency, British Waterways and the relevant Internal Drainage Board
will be consulted before planning applications which might increase
the risk of flooding are determined.
2.36 If development is allowed in a location
liable to flood, proposals will be expected to take this potential
into account when designing the development (eg locating parking
areas and access points in such a way that allow buildings to
continue to be used during a flood). Important considerations
the capacity of the floodplain;
the contribution of existing or proposed
alleviation measures; and
access for emergency services.
NB. The Council has also proposed to delete
the word "significantly" from the policy to address
the Environment Agency's outstanding concerns.
Memorandum by the Local Government Association
PG 25 FLOOD PLANNING ISSUES
Local Government Association made a response
to Draft PPG 25 on Development and Flood Risk this summer. The
points below summarises the key points made on a range of issues
raised in the Draft Guidance.
Sustainable solutions to flood control/risk
minimisation should be sought wherever possible.
The Government's commitment to review the information
available on the actual and potential effects of climate change
is broadly welcome. The LGA would like to see a commitment to
regular, ongoing reviews to take account of any future changes
The Environment Agency will have a key role.
It must ensure that:
It will have the staff and resources
available to assist with preparing development plans and with
dealing with individual planning applications.
It enables local authorities to implement
a long-term, sustainable flood defence strategy by providing quantified
data on potential future changes in their area and detailed information
on historic flooding, including the deputy of such flooding:
With regard to measuring the potential
risk from new development, it provides accurate information on
the effects of particular developments, both locally and elsewhere
in the region.
In principle, the LGA supports the inclusion
of flood risk information in local searches. However, it will
be essential to ensure that there is a campaign of public education
to back the system up:
The public may not fully understand
the difference between different degrees of flood risk, causing
people anxiety and distress.
There is a risk of damage to the
value of property and the potential of planning blight arising
in areas identified as at-risk.
We support the principle that developers must
contribute towards the cost of flood defences required as a result
of their development. However, it is not clear who will be responsible
for funding the remaining cost of flood defence measures where,
for example, there is a wider benefit gained from the flood defences
than just that required by the development itself.
Many brownfield sites lie alongside rivers.
While they may have been suitable for industry in the past, they
may not be suitable for new housing developments. There is a danger
that this factor could be a significant constraint on reaching
brownfield targets in some areas. We need to cross-refer to PPG
3 with regard to brownfield housing development.
Local authorities would benefit from good practice
guidance from Government on risk-based approaches, sustainable
drainage techniques and development of riverside brownfield sites.
Following the Deputy Prime Minister's "wake
up call" initiative on extreme weather conditions, the LGA
been represented on a Flood Working
Group, chaired by Elliott Morley MP, MAFF, which has looked at
effects of recent floods;
issued briefing on Severe Weather
and Floods; and
undertaken a rapid review of local
authorities' experience of the floods; many authorities have replied,
and replies are still coming in.
Renewal of Emergency PlanningBackground
The fuel crisis in September, and the severe
weather more recently, have acted as a reminder of the important
role played by emergency planning staff in local authorities,
and have raised issues about the duties, powers and financing
of the emergency planning (and response service in local government).
During the "cold war", local authorities
employed staff to plan for the possibility of nuclear attack;
local authorities received, from the Home Office, ring-fenced
Civil Defence Grant, under the Civil Defence Act 1948 (and further
Regulations in 1993). As the cold war thawed and ended, the Civil
Defence Grant was retained, but cut back over a considerable period,
leading to a reduction in staff employed. Civil defence emergency
planning staff were also used to plan for major civil emergencies
(eg floods, plane and train crashes, terrorist incidents) and
with the end of the cold war, this work came to dominate the agenda
of emergency planning officers. This led to concerns about the
statutory basis of this new civil emergencies work, which the
Civil Protection in Peacetime Act 1986 was intended to clarify
and ease, but in recent years the emergency planning profession,
and the LGA Public Protection Committee and Emergency Planning
Panel, have lobbied for a new, unambiguous duty and power for
local authorities to undertake civil emergency planning, and for
a restoration of (or increase in) the level of funding for this
Although Civil Defence Grant has been cut back
and the number of emergency planning staff have been reduced,
many authorities have "topped up" the funding provided
by the Home Office Grant out of mainstream finance in order to
be able to maintain a viable emergency planning service.
A review of emergency planning is, therefore,
long overdue. The LGA needs to undertake an urgent review, and
will need to address the issue of future financing of the service.
While it may have been understandable that central government
provided a specific grant for local authority civil defence/nuclear
war planning. LGA policy on local government finance would argue
against the continuation of a specific grant for a new duty and/or
power of civil emergency planning, and in favour of substantial
additional government financial support being added to SSA, probably
via the EPCS block (possibly offset in part by the discontinuation
of Civil Defence Grant).
Need for review urgent, to cover duty/power,
Need to ensure that any new duty/powers would
cover not just emergency planning but response and recovery phase
Review of Bellwin SchemeBackground
There is strong pressure from local authorities
for a thorough going review of the scheme.
The Government moved quickly to change the grant
rate from 85 per cent to 100 per cent, and to ensure speedy settlement
of claims, arising from the recent floods, but the real problems
with Bellwin are:
the threshold, which makes it difficult
for large geographical areas (particularly big counties) to reach
the threshold of 0.2 per cent of the council's annual budget (for
many counties, they must spend £1.5 million to £2 million
before they even hit the threshold); and
what is excluded from allowable expenditure,
particularly anything which can be insured against, and capital
Strong reaction from local authorities that
full review is needed.
Bellwin Scheme predicated on assumption that
major emergencies are very rare eventsneeds reviewing if
(at least in some areas) they become much more frequent.
Review of Flood Defence FundingBackground
The future division of responsibility between
MAFF, the Environment Agency and local authorities for flood defence,
and its funding are the most important issues over the long term
which require review.
Flood defence is a highly complex area, with
Flood Defence Committees;
Internal Drainage Boards;
Environment Agency (with both direct
operational responsibilities and a "general supervisory duty");
High level Targets (published November
flood risk mapping; and
Two reviews are already underway:
a Financial Management and Policy
Review (FMPR) of the Environment Agency is just getting under
way, which will look closely at the Agency's responsibility for
flood defence, including its relationship with other agencies
and local authorities;
a review (Flood and Coastal Defence
Funding Review) announced by Elliott Morley MP, Minister of State
at MAFF, originally with a fairly long timescale (in part to allow
the Local Government Finance Green Paper to have been considered
first): the LGA is waiting to learn what involvement we will have
in this review, and whether the time-scale is likely to be affected
by the DPM's new initiative.
The LGA and the Environment Agency have already
established a joint Flood Defence Member Group (Chaired by Councillor
Derek Bateman), which will be meeting on Thursday 30 November
2000, and will be considering a paper produced by the Agency on
flood defence funding. Any relevant outcomes for this meeting
will be reported orally to members before the CLP meeting.
Need to avoid overlap and confusion between
different reviews: will the MAFF/Elliott Morley review already
announced/underway continue (at faster pace?) and be the main
vehicle for reviewing responsibilities and financing for flood
Planning and Flood PlainsBackground
The issue of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)
allowing development on known food plains was given considerable
prominence in discussions about the recent floods, with some criticism
of both LPAs and the Environment Agency (for inadequate flood
plain maps, and for not being prepared to support LPAs at planning
appeals against refusal of planning permission).
The LGA has provided extensive comments in reply
to DETR's consultation draft of the Planning Policy Guidance Note
on Flood Planning, Issues (PPG 25), which is due for final publication
shortly. It is likely that the draft will be strengthened in the
light of the recent floods and criticisms, probably in the direction
of a "sequential test" similar to that found in PPG
6 on location of retail development, and PPG 3 on affordable housing.
This test would require LPAs to satisfy themselves that any development
proposals in flood plain met a series of graduated rigorous criteria
based on relative risks (loss of life, damage to property, downstream
effects etc). The LGA's view of the current draft in that it is
sensible and balanced in its approach, and leaves the final decision
to the LPA following advice from the Environment Agency.
It is important to stress that of the enormous
number of planning applications each year on which the Agency
comments (c 100,000 in total), LPAs only gave permission against
the clear advice of the Agency in respect of flood risk on some
200 occasions in 1999. LPAs have the right to make a balanced
judgement, in light of all the relevant material considerations,
and having regard to the likely seriousness of the consequences
of any flooding given the nature of the buildings concerned.
It is also important to keep the level of flooding
in perspective, and recognise that many flood defence schemes
have been effective, despite the wettest autumn since records
began in 1776. The Environment Agency has calculated that the
number of properties which have experienced flooding is about
6,600 out of two million properties in flood risk areas.
LPAs are, of course, dependent on the Agency
for the production of flood plan maps. Until now, as a rule of
thumb, LPAs have regarded the one in 100 year risk of flooding
as a sensible criterion for granting planning permission. If conditions
have changed, such that one in 100 year risks become 1 in 25 or
1 in 10 year risks, flood plain maps will have to be revised,
and the retention of a one in 100 year risk level would necessarily
mean that much larger areas of land would be deemed inappropriate
for more intensive development.
Key Points to make
LPAs need to retain the right to balance all
relevant considerations when deciding on whether planning permission
should be granted for developments in the flood plain, but LGA
accepts that criteria will need to be strengthened, through the
revised PPG 25.
Environment Agency needs to be resourced to
investigate flood plain risks in light of emerging evidence, and
to amend flood plan maps as appropriate, and continue to keep
them up to date.
LGA supports the principle of including flood
risk information in local searches, but great care will need to
be taken to avoid unnecessary planning (and insurance) blight.
LGA supports the principle that developers should
contribute towards the cost of flood defences required as a result
of their development, whilst recognising that a significant cost
may still have to fall on the public purse in respect of the wider
benefit gained from the defences.