Seven out of 10 new homes in Hammersmith and Fulham are built on land at risk of flooding, new findings reveal.
Data released in parliament shows that between 2013/14 and 2015/16, 70% of new residential addresses in the borough - created by erecting houses and flats or converting existing buildings - were in National Flood Zone 3.
That is the highest risk category for flooding, reserved for areas where there is at least a one-in-a-hundred chance each year of flooding from rivers or a one-in-two-hundred chance of flooding from the sea.
The percentage is far lower in other boroughs, with Hounslow coming in at 14%, Hillingdon in 10%, Harrow with 7% and both Ealing and Brent have just 1%.
Only a handful of places in the country - led by Boston in Lincolnshire, at 98% - had a higher proportion of homes created in Zone 3 than Hammersmith and Fulham.
The data was published by housing minister Gavin Barwell in response to a parliamentary question by the Labour MP for Hull North, Diana Johnson.
The Environment Agency defines three different flood zones, according to risk:
- Zone 1: Reserved for areas where there is a less than 0.1% chance of flooding in any given year, and development there is largely unrestricted.
- Zone 2: For places with a risk of between 0.1% and 1%, and developments there need to be risk-assessed.
- Zone 3: The highest risk category, where development is more tightly controlled
Mr Barwell said: “National planning policy is clear that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk.
“Where development is necessary in a flood risk area and there are no suitable sites available in areas with a lower probability of flooding, it should be safe, flood resilient and not increase flood risk elsewhere.
“Otherwise, it should not be permitted.
“The Department’s statistics report only the proportion of new residential addresses created in Flood Zone 3 areas; they do not reflect the safety measures incorporated, for example they do not take account of the presence of flood defences.”
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