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20. Flood Risk

Core Strategy Strategic Objective

To adapt for the effects of climate change through controlling new development within areas of flood risk and designing new development to reduce flood risk elsewhere

SCS Strategic Aims

The built and natural environment has been protected and enhanced

People feel safe

Why is this a Strategic Objective?

20.1 Flooding from rivers is a natural process that plays an important role in shaping the natural environment. However, flooding threatens life and causes substantial damage to property. Although flooding cannot be wholly prevented, its impacts can be avoided and reduced through good planning and management. However, climate change over the next few decades is likely to mean milder wetter winters and hotter drier summers in the UK. These factors will lead to increased and new risks of flooding.

20.2 Warwick District has a history of flooding due to the many rivers and watercourses through the area, including the rivers Avon, Sowe, Leam, Itchen and Canley Brook and Finham Brook. In the last thirty years there has been flooding on many occasions due to heavy rainfall increasing watercourse and river levels and, more recently in 2007, being largely attributable to drainage problems. The anticipated implications of climate change will only increase the District's vulnerability to such events and it is important therefore to appraise, manage and reduce the risk of flooding within the District.

Evidence:

Participation

20.3 In response to the public consultation on the "Issues Paper", flooding was identified as becoming a major issue and the majority of respondents were against development in areas of flood risk even if mitigation could be put in place. The majority of respondents also considered the use of sustainable urban drainage systems should be used to assist in tackling the problems associated with climate change.

Research

20.4 A Stage One Strategic Flood Risk Assessment has been undertaken to inform the preparation of the Core Strategy. This assessment shows areas of historical flooding, surface water areas, the current threats and areas covered by flood warnings, and the potential for further flood risk due to climate change based on a 20% increase in flood areas.

20.5 In addition, consultation is currently taking place on a Draft River Basin Management Plan for the River Severn Basin District which includes the Avon through Warwick District. This identifies actions to reduce the impacts of transport and the built environment on the environment, including improving management of surface water drainage by use of sustainable urban drainage systems and setting aside land during development for surface water storage providing a resource for reuse on industrial and housing estates.

National and Regional Planning Policies

20.6 Relevant national planning policy on flooding is set out within PPS25 Development and Flood Risk (2006). This requires local planning authorities to control development which avoids flood risk to people and property where possible and manage it elsewhere. A strategic approach should be taken which avoids adding to the causes or "sources" of flood risk, by such means as avoiding inappropriate development in flood risk areas and minimising run-off from new development onto adjacent and other downstream property, and into the river systems.

20.7 In allocating land for development, local planning authorities should apply the sequential test and demonstrate that there are no reasonably available sites in areas with a lower probability of flooding that would be appropriate to the type of development or land use proposed. Where climate change is expected to increase flood risk so that some existing development may not be sustainable in the long-term, local planning authorities should consider whether there are opportunities to facilitate the relocation of development, including housing, to more sustainable locations at less risk from flooding.

20.8 Regional planning policy requires local planning authorities to avoid development in flood zones, and to reduce any adverse effects of development on the water environment by encouraging the use of sustainable drainage systems.

What are the options?

20.9 National planning policy is clear in terms of the approach to be taken by the Council towards dealing with flooding issues at all stages of the planning process. The Council has undertaken a Stage One Strategic Flood Risk Assessment which has informed its Preferred Option for the allocation of land for housing and employment. This will also provide a basis for a strategic policy within the Core Strategy to set a framework for more site-specific flood risk assessments, controlling development within flood risk areas, considering opportunities to facilitate the relocation of development, and for the incorporation of measures to address flood risk from all new developments such as sustainable urban drainage systems.

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