Election 2015 – Flood Risk and Flood Defence Spending. How do the main political parties intend to tackle the issue of flooding?
In the lead up to the 2015 General Election, Unda has reviewed the major political parties’ manifestos with particular focus where each of the parties stand on addressing the issue of flooding.
More than the political parties realise, their pledges concerning; climate change, building new homes, protecting the environment and improving the planning system are under close scrutiny by the all-important voter if they have ever been an unfortunate victim of flood.
So how to the political parties intend to tackle the issue of flooding?
Green Party – key points of the Green Party manifesto relating to flooding include;
- Preventing new building on flood plains
- Build 500,000 new social rental homes
- Take action on empty homes to bring them back into use. There are about 700,000 empty homes….(reducing the need to build more)
Read detailed extracts from the Election 2015: Green Party Manifesto pledges on Flooding in full here.
The Conservative Party – key points of the Conservative Party manifesto relating to flooding include;
- Plans to build 200,000 starter homes
- Give people the right to build by at least doubling the number of custom-built and self-built homes by 2020.
- Build a further 1,400 new flood defence schemes to protect 300,000 new homes.
Read detailed extracts from the Election 2015: Conservative Party Manifesto pledges on Flood in full here.
Liberal Democrat’s – key points of the Lib Dem manifesto relating to flooding include;
- Help farmers cope with the challenges faced by them from flooding.
- Work with local government to review the governance of flood risk and land drainage
- Review the role of the Internal Drainage Boards
- Introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas.
- Set up a commission to research back-to-nature flood prevention schemes.
- Help farmers and other land users to adapt to climate change impacts by encouraging planting in uplands and restoring flood plains.
- Review the system of approvals required by landowners to repair existing flood protection measures on their land.
- Increase the uptake of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.
- Increase house building target to 300,00 a year
- Build 10 new Garden Cities in England
- Local Authorities drive plan-led development by requiring them to make a plan for 15 years of housing
- Local Authorities to keep a register of people who want a self-build plot in the local area and plan to meet demand for these plots.
Read detailed extracts from the Election 2015: Liberal Democrat Manifesto pledge on Flood in full here.
UKIP – key points of UKIP’s manifesto relating to flooding include;
- Refuse new housing developments on agricultural land.
- Replace the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and introduce fresh national planning guidelines
- Free local authorities from government-imposed minimum housing numbers
- Reverse current policies of facilitating large-scale rural residential developments,
- Promote smaller 6-12 unit developments in rural areas to extend existing villages
- Encourage local authorities to require a proportion of self-build plots to be provided in all large developments
- Allow large-scale developments to be overturned by a binding local referendum triggered by the signatures of 5 per cent of electors within a planning authority area, collected within three months
- Reduce the cost and bureaucracy of planning applications by merging Planning and Building Control departments in local authorities.
- Match-fund grants made by local authorities towards helping recovery from environmental disasters
Read detailed extracts from the Election 2015: UKIP Manifesto pledge on managing Flood Risk in full here.
The Labour Party’s – key points of the manifesto relating to flooding include;
- A climate change adaptation programme and prioritised investment in flood prevention
- Ensure at least 200,000 new homes a year are built by 2020.
- Push for an ambitious target in Paris to get to goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.
Read detailed extracts from the Election 2015: The Labour Party Manifesto pledges on Flooding in full here.
Unity over Climate Change
All this comes against the back drop when all three party leaders (Cameron, Clegg and Miliband) in February 2015 made a rare show of unity in a cross-party declaration by signing a joint pledge to tackle climate change. The aim of which is to protect the UK’s national security and economic prosperity. The declaration was hailed as “inspiring leadership” by Al Gore, former US vice president. The world’s governments have pledged to tackle climate change and have set a UN summit in Paris in December 2015 as the deadline for a global deal. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour leaders have pledged “to seek a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2C”, the level seen as the threshold of dangerous global warming.
Overlook the marginal parties at your peril
Even the marginal parties appreciate addressing the issue of flood in their manifesto’s will go a long way to winning that all important vote on 7th May.
UKIP pledge in their manifesto to match-fund grants made by local authorities towards helping recovery from environmental disasters (e.g. flooding) and would replace the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (the official document that regulates the assessment of flood risks and their appropriate mitigations to the planning process) and introduce fresh national planning guidelines.
While the Green Party manifesto goes into great detail how they would address the issue of flooding from simplistic planning measures such as; preventing new building on flood plain and by encouraging storing water in uplands through full river system management – including wetland restoration, natural regeneration, allowing rivers to meander and allowing flooding upstream. Water management needs to become part of the rules for farming subsidies. To fiscal measures such as We would give an extra £1 billion a year to local authorities and the Environment Agency to spend on assisting communities with flood protection
Finally, everyone is in agreement that the issue of flooding in the UK has shot up the political agenda since the country endured its wettest winter in 2013/14 since records began in 1910. Find out more about Flood Risk Assessment.