To Cllr Ian Moran
“I noticed your article in this week’s Champion and thought it a good opportunity to write. Due to the combined failures of WLBC and LCC to use much of the currently published flooding evidence for Burscough, their generally secretive behaviour, the drawn out process of issuing the Jacob’s report; along with WLBC’s failure to consult with UU and it be published.
“It could be perceived that flooding evidence in Burscough is being managed by omission and that is likely to enable the next phase of building on Yew Tree Farm to go ahead without any improvement in Burscough’s drainage. This could save United Utilities tens of millions but will further the misery of flood victims in Burscough.
“Do you have any comment? Do you propose to undertake any investigations into WLBC’s involvement in the ongoing issue we have raised?”
Recent Guardian Reports On Sustainable Drainage Systems
“After the 2007 disaster which claimed 13 lives and contained 92 peoposals, the Sir Michael Pitt
review led to new laws in 2010 to implement the use of sustainable drainage systems, which provide safe areas for water to pond. But the provisions were never implemented and instead a voluntary system asking developers to follow these practices was put in place.
“But it has not worked. The government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), found that just 15% of planning applications in areas of flood risk incorporate sustainable drainage measures and in 2015 the CCC warned ministers their plans were inadequate. However, in May, the government successfully opposed a plan to make sustainable drainage compulsory, and to make developers increase the capacity of drains to which new homes are connected”.
We, being unbelievers of developers being other than honest, take it all with a pinch of salt!
Rush to build new homes will increase flooding, experts warn
“Plans for one million new homes by 2020 risk overwhelming drains, unless the government ends freeze on legal requirements for sustainable drainage, according to the nation’s building and flooding professionals. The risk could be avoided, however, if the government ends its seven-year freeze on implementing legal requirements for new developments to include sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), such as ponds, green roofs and permeable paving. These slow the flow of water into drains, cutting the risk of floods.
“Flash flooding, where heavy rain overwhelms sewers, is already the most frequent type of flooding and costs about £260m a year. Flood risk is also expected to rise as climate change is leading to more intense rainstorms. But at present new housing developments can simply connect to existing drains, increasing the risk of floods.
“A law requiring new developments to include SuDS was passed in 2010, but the government put the rules on hold, aiming to save developers money and speed up house-building. But a report published on Thursday by a coalition of professional institutions finds the policy freeze has not sped up house building and has put homes at risk of flooding, without saving money.
“The report urges the government to use a current review to finally implement the rules. “We recognise the urgent need for 1m new homes but it is pointless to build in a way that creates flood risk for the future” said Terry Fuller, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, one of the bodies that produced the report.
“Our analysis shows the main obstacles to high quality and widely implemented SuDS are political and institutional rather than technical or financial, so there is no reason why government should not support stronger policy,” he said.
“SuDS can also provide valuable habitats for wildlife and Martin Spray, chief executive of the the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said “The government’s freeze on sustainable drainage policy is a loss for wildlife and a loss for communities. But we can make this change affordable and quick, delivering new defences and new habitats, without slowing down house-building”. Other bodies backing the report include the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Association of Drainage Authorities and the RSPB and WWF.
“People living with the threat of flooding are deeply worried about how new developments will increase their flood risk. It’s undoubtedly the biggest problem we hear about, along with insurance” said Paul Cobbing, head of the National Flood Forum, which represents flood-prone communities across the country. “We run the risk of thousands suffering the devastating effects of flooding much more frequently. We need to take action to ensure we’re creating and building flood-resilient communities for today and for 30 years’ time”.
“A jobsworth for the Department for Communities and Local Government said “We’ve put in place strong safeguards to stop inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding, and we are clear that sustainable drainage systems are critical for reducing surface water flood risk. Planning authorities have to make sure new buildings are flood-resilient and we expect sustainable drainage systems for all new developments with 10 or more homes”.
“Existing planning rules encourage the use of SuDS, but a survey of more than 500 industry professionals for the new report, including engineers, flood experts and planners, found only 8% believe that current standards are driving high quality and effective SuDS in England. The government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), also found only one in seven planning applications in areas of flood risk in 2015 contained the phrase “sustainable drainage”.
“The new report also found that many SuDS that were installed were poor quality. The government’s own research shows SuDS are often cheaper to build and maintain than traditional drainage systems and the CCC estimates that they save £2 for every £1 spent.
In 2016, the government rejected proposals to use its Housing and Planning Act to increase the use of SuDS. Lord John Krebs
then at the CCC, told the Guardian “In 20 years time, people will look back and say, “What were they thinking?” as flooding already causes £1bn of damage every year on average but the risks will rise yet further as climate change leads to more intense rainfall, bringing floods to places not currently in danger. The numbers of households at significant risk of flooding will more than double to 1.9m by 2050, if the global temperature rises by 4C.
What chance for Burscough in those circumstances?