‘Any new homes must reduce risk of floods’

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NEW housing developments must help to reduce the chances of flooding, a meeting was told.

Ian Miller, a technical advisor for the Environment Agency, said development should not just mitigate against flood risk, but go ‘over and above’ what would be expected to decrease the threat.

His comments came as he unveiled a package of flood alleviation measures at a meeting of Emsworth Residents’ Association.

As reported in The News yesterday, the agency has committed £700,000 to dig three water storage ponds in Emsworth.

Other work will include installing a new trash screen at Bridge Road in March.

A deteriorated sluice and fish pass at Constant Spring on the River Ems will also be replaced in April.

Meanwhile, Mr Miller said developments such as Hampshire Farm – a large estate being built near Westbourne – have actually reduced flood risk rather than increased it.

A pond has been dug at the site which has dramatically reduced surface water run-off.

Emsworth Flood Action Group demanded that developers quadrupled the size of the pond to what was originally proposed.

Mr Miller said such schemes could be repeated.

He said: ‘We are working closely with the council to ensure that these sites are located away from existing area of flood risk and to develop policies that will require any future development in Emsworth to make a positive contribution to managing flood risk overall.

‘Our aim is to reduce surface water run-off from these development sites.’

Chris Clode, chairman of the action group, said: ‘It’s absolutely essential.

‘Because of what happened at Hampshire Farm and the pressure that the flood action group brought to bear, there will be even closer co-operation between Havant Borough Council planners, councillors and the Environment Agency to ensure that any future development has robust and proper sustainable urban drainage systems.’