Expert comment: New Flood Strategy at odds with house-building pledge
Release Date 14 July 2020
Professor Hannah Cloke, a hydrologist at the University of Reading, said:
"This announcement provides some welcome details behind some of the promises on flooding in the Chancellor’s Budget statement. In effect, the government is backing the recommendations of the National Flood Resilience Review and what many scientists, agencies and flood-affected communities have been calling for for many years.
"I am particularly pleased to see measures that will allow people to better prepare themselves for floods, including through the government-backed Flood Re insurance scheme. It is fashionable at the moment to say we need to ‘build back better’, but for people living in flood-hit homes, it is an existential necessity.
"There are still gaps in the government’s policy, and it remains to be seen if building more wisely is compatible with building more quickly, as has been promised in ‘Project Speed’. A commitment to review policies on developments on flood plains does not sound in tune with cutting red tape to build houses more quickly and infrastructure more cheaply.
"A fortnight ago, Boris was attacking ‘newt counting’, and bemoaning the pace of progress in the UK. Dealing with flooding shows precisely the difficulties behind his promise to build better, faster and greener. Sometimes being better and greener requires building more slowly and carefully, or we risk long-term economic and social costs that we cannot afford."