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‘UK must build flood resilient homes’ says RIBA

Currently 1 in 6 homes in the UK are at risk of flooding – a number that is expected to double by 2050

Flooding causes an average of £1.4 billion of damage each year to businesses and households

RIBA’s The Value of Flood Resilient Architecture and Design report calls for innovation and regulation change, to ensure both new build and existing properties are flood resilient and future proof

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has (Thursday 3 May) published a new report outlining what the Government needs to do to help create homes and communities that are resilient to flood damage. RIBA’s The Value of Flood Resilient Architecture and Design report stresses that the UK can no longer base its approach to managing flood risk on simply keeping the water out. The Government needs to enable communities to manage their risks. This means better equipping people and businesses to live with water; being able to stop water entering their properties and speeding recovery if it does.

The RIBA report advocates building flood resilient homes and buildings. To do this it recommends that the Government develops a new approach to tackling flooding threats, one that encourages innovation in flooding resilience in the housing and urban design sector. It recommends specific building regulations for flood resilience and resistance, thereby ensuring that these are taken up in any building exposed to flood risk.

The report concludes that embedding flood resilient design will help future-proof new developments and deliver greater value for money when investments in new flood defences are made. In addition, there is room for the UK to become a leader in this area, paving the way with innovative responses and solutions to flooding.

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said:

“In the next 30 years, the number of homes at risk of flooding is expected to double. Now is the time to adapt and think creatively about how to tackle this threat. The RIBA urges the Government to step up and encourage the collaboration and innovation needed to create new homes and communities that are resilient to the devastating effects of flooding.”

 

The report makes five key recommendations for Government:

Improved decision-making processes which address a broader range of factors and potential solutions to water management issues

Pilot ‘Licences for Innovation’ to examine the effectiveness of new approaches to managing flood risk in new development to flooding and ensure all new buildings incorporate appropriate measures

Examine the potential for regulations on flood resilience to be linked to Flood Zone Designations through Building Regulations and planning policy

Regulate to ensure that all new developments in flood risk areas demonstrate reduced exposure and vulnerability to flood damage as well as broader benefits to the resilience of the local area

Encourage greater uptake of flood-resilient design by home and building owners exposed to flood risk

Patrik Schumacher, head of Zaha Hadid Architects calls for radical rethinking to solve housing crisis

A paper has been released on the Adam Smith Institute website, under the heading “Only Capitalism can Solve the Housing Crisis“, so far no great surprise.

Patrik Schumacher believes that outdated and inappropriate planning restrictions are holding back redevelopment of land in London and elsewhere. While I am sure many will disagree with elements of what is said in this paper and quite possibly its overall direction, however it certainly raises issues and asks questions that provide food for thought.

Invasive Plant Species, Do you know your American Skunk Cabbage from your Chilean Rhubarb?

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Due to global trade and tourism an ever greater number of alien plants are posing risks to our native eco-system. If you have concerns about a possible invasive plant there is a helpful booklet on the European Commission website.

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