Developers urged to do more to cut flooding risk

SCARBOROUGH Council wants to see more responsibility placed on developers in a bid to reduce the risk of future flooding.

Responding to the Government’s Pitt Review, the council’s head of technical services John Riby said the borough’s main flood risk came from small watercourses and the run-off from agricultural land which overwhelms the drainage system under certain storm conditions.

In a report to the projects and partnerships committee, he said although the review touched on issues of future development and building control, it did not identify a clear way forward for long-term solutions.

Mr Riby said besides a short-term, emergency response, there needed to be medium-term solutions – such as improving and maintaining ditches and watercourses – and a long-term solution, which was major capital investment into the drainage system, flood defences, the provision of storm tanks and so on.

In a letter to the review team, he wrote: “After suffering flooding for the second or third time since 2000, merely improving the flood emergency response plan, while worthwhile, is not acceptable to residents in high flood risk areas.

“Our coastal towns and villages have a high proportion of retired residents living in bungalows, and flooding and fear of flooding for many of this vulnerable part of the community requires long-term solutions.”

He added: “The public response from the flood surgeries following the July 2007 floods was very critical of the planning authority for allowing new development to continue without improving the drainage/flood defence system.”

Although the report stressed that planning guidelines should be rigorously applied, including giving consideration to all sources of flood risk and ensuring developers make a full contribution, Mr Riby said no reference was made to improving and maintaining off-site drainage.

He also said the report did not consider the issue of land instability, with flood water triggering landslips and damage to property in several parts of Filey. In addition, he asked if risk to “critical infrastructure” referred to in the report could include road access to key services such as hospitals, as well as electricity generation, water supplies and telecommunications.

A task group will now be set up to ensure a proactive approach is taken to flooding issues across the borough.