Guardian – Government Pospones Anti-Flood Measures Following Housebuilder Lobbying
The Guardian has learned that the government chose to delay the introduction of critical anti-flood measures until 2014 after lobbying by Britain’s biggest house builders. Regulations to demand better drainage of new housing developments using wetlands, reed beds, drainage channels and porous driveways to help prevent run-off flooding that threatens an estimated 2.8m homes was postponed last year after the Home Builders Federation complained to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about the cost.
Barratt Homes, Redrow, Bovis and other house builders were supposed to take responsibility for building systems to ensure water that drains from new estates soaks into the ground rather than running off to cause flooding locally. But they have written to Defra minister Richard Benyon saying the standards, which have been championed by ecologists and flood experts, are “flawed and would raise design, cost and other problems for house builders”. They also warned the scheme would “present a significant risk to the delivery of new housing”, and the government announced an 18-month delay.
A spokeswoman for Defra said there should be “no extra burdens on property developers which impact on the drive for growth”.
The regulations have also been challenged by councils worried about who would pay for upkeep.