To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, by what mechanism residents can challenge a local authority's assessment of the adequacy of drainage systems for a new housing development where they believe it will contribute to additional flooding in an area which has recently flooded.
There are strict tests in the National Planning Policy Framework to protect people and property from flooding, and we are very clear that where these tests are not met new development should not be allowed.
The Framework must be taken into account in the preparation of local plans, drawn up by local councils in consultation with local communities, which should steer inappropriate development away from areas at risk of flooding. Local Plans should be supported by Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and develop policies to manage flood risk from all sources, taking account of advice from the Environment Agency and other relevant flood risk management bodies. A Local Plan must be published for consultation before it can be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination. This provides a formal opportunity for the local community to consider the local plan which the local planning authority would like to adopt.
For planning applications, local planning authorities are also required to undertake a formal period of public consultation prior to making a decision. When determining planning applications in flood risk areas, the Framework is clear on the importance of demonstrating that the development will be safe, resilient and not increase flood risk elsewhere. The Framework also sets out when applications should be supported by a site-specific flood risk assessment. These assessments provide a source of information for local residents together with representations on proposed development from flood risk management bodies. Planning law requires that planning applications must be determined in accordance with the development plan for the area, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Framework is a material consideration in planning decisions, as are the planning concerns of residents.