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Council seek views on flooding matters

15th September 2011

The Highland Council is underlining its commitment to tackling flooding by issuing improved and more detailed guidance to developers on how to address flooding matters when they design and implement their proposals for development.

During the autumn, the Council will ask the public and the development industry to comment on a draft of this new advice, which has been prepared in conjunction with technical input from various sources including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The advice has been in preparation for some time but has been augmented to reflect the outcomes of recent flood events. The purpose is to ensure that the principle of not making flooding any worse in an area post development is translated into detailed planning, construction and maintenance practice. The guidance also sets out the wider context on "who does what" in terms of flooding responsibilities which should aid the public's understanding of the role of each public agency, developers and individuals.

The matter will be discussed by the Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee on Wednesday (21 September).

Committee Chairman Councillor Ian Ross said: "This guidance demonstrates the Council's commitment to improving flood prevention provision. This has been in development for some time but the recent floods just highlight the importance of this guidance. We want to hear the views of communities and developers - and are keen to promote effective partnership working.

"We hope the development industry and public will respond positively to the draft guidance, which is part of the Council's wider climate change agenda, and we will welcome suggestions and further refinements once we publish the guidance in the autumn. An 8 week period will be available for comments. A copy of the guidance will be available via the Council's web site and paper copies will be available free of charge to interested parties."

He said that clearer, more detailed, technical guidance would help practitioners - chiefly developers' engineers and planning application case officers - make more informed and consistent judgements about flooding issues. One material change in policy was the suggestion for a defined no development buffer alongside watercourses within development sites. This would reduce the developable area on sites but would allow for natural changes in the alignment of burns, reduce the risk of blockages, and allow limited overtopping without damage to adjoining properties.

He added: "On a similar theme, developers will be asked to provide details of where extreme flood event water will be routed if such an event occurs. The emphasis is on working with the natural environment not against it. For example a firmer policy objective will be the retention and, if necessary, re-creation of natural watercourses and where appropriate removal of constricting culverts, with the inclusion of associated development setback. Scottish law and Highland policy already sets a robust framework on flooding issues and the guidance is very much about putting principles into practice."

 

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