NI plans to require flood-risk assessments

15th October 2013

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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation



Developers in Northern Ireland will have to submit flood-risk assessments for projects in "at-risk areas" under proposed changes to planning policy

The Northern Ireland executive has published a new draft planning policy statement on flood risk, tightening restrictions on developments in floodplains and those close to reservoirs.

Under the proposed changes to its planning policy statement 15, all applications for developments in coastal floodplains at risk of a 1 in a 200 year flood, or river basins at risk of a 1 in 100 year flood, have to complete a flood-risk assessment, bringing the Northern Ireland planning regime into line with those in England, Wales and Scotland.

The assessment will require developers to identify all flood risks posed to a planned development, as well as any flood risks posed to other areas as a result. They will also have to demonstrate how the risks will be mitigated.

The changes, which are out for consultation until 10 January 2014, also introduce restrictions on the types of development that can be built in areas at risk from flooding, even when flood defences are in place.

Some projects, including hospitals or schools, as well as developments housing hazardous substances, will all be refused planning permission under the plans.

Northern Ireland environment minister, Mark Durkan, said: "It is important to ensure that the planning system continues to manage new development so as to further reduce the risk of flooding to people and property.

"While flooding is a natural phenomenon that cannot be entirely eliminated, we in government need to do all we can to address this recurring problem which can have devastating impacts on individuals and communities. Flooding can also directly affect schools, hospitals, businesses, transport and infrastructure and is therefore detrimental to our economy and society.

Agriculture and rural development minister Michelle O'Neill, said the revision would provide developers with much clearer guidance on "all aspects of flood risk arising from proposed development".

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