Councils call for mandatory anti-flood measures for new homes

Developers must include extra flood protection measures for new homes and businesses in at-risk areas to potentially save millions of pounds worth of damage in the long term, councils have argued.

The Local Government Association is calling on the Government to amend the Building Regulations to include mandatory requirements for features such as raised electrical sockets, ventilation brick covers, sealed floors and raised damp-proof courses mandatory.

It noted that claims for damage caused by flooding during last winter alone is expected to top £5bn, with thousands of families facing financial difficulties as a result.

The LGA estimates that an average of 1.66 tonnes of household goods and freezer waste has had to be removed from each of the 21,000 homes and businesses damaged.

Councils are also calling for the landfill tax, currently just over £82 per tonne, to be returned to flood-hit areas to be invested in supporting jobs and growth.

In addition, it is calling for new flood defence funding to be devolved to allow councils and communities to invest it in projects that best reflect local needs.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA environment spokesman, said: "It would be easy and inexpensive for developers to introduce a raft of measures to ensure homes and offices are more flood-proof. Simple and straightforward steps could in the long-term save thousands of homes and businesses from some of the catastrophic damage and trauma which we saw this winter.

"Other measures from the Government could also make a massive difference in helping councils. These include allowing councils to keep landfill tax and devolving new flood defence funding to local areas.

"Councils continue to give their all for flood-hit areas. The sense of community spirit across the country and huge efforts of council staff who have worked long hours and with little rest has been inspirational."