Surface flooding is a growing problem in the UK, with new houses adding pressure to drainage systems [Image: Aamuel Wordley/Alamy].

Surface flooding is a growing problem in the UK, with new houses adding pressure to drainage systems [Image: Aamuel Wordley/Alamy].

New houses certainly need adequate drainage and sewer systems, and overloading the current network – as the Tories seem to want – is a mean-spirited idea for which people other than the Conservative Government would pay the cost.

But isn’t there another aspect to flooding that needs to be addressed?

Where’s the initiative to put better – natural – drainage systems along our riversides to absorb extra water and keep it from reaching our houses?

As far as This Writer can tell, it only requires a little landscaping and the planting of a few of the right trees in the right places.

Moves to protect more households from the threats of surface flooding and sewer overload will be debated in parliament on Monday, with the government facing possible defeat in a key vote.

Surface flooding is a growing problem, with at least 20,000 sewer overflows occurring in the UK a year. It is caused by the overloading of Britain’s antiquated sewer and drainage networks, and the concreting over of large swaths of land which leaves water with nowhere to be absorbed.

With the government promising hundreds of thousands of new houses in the next few years, this problem is likely to accelerate. At present, housing developers are able to connect new homes to existing sewage and water networks without having to upgrade them, which puts new houses and nearby existing ones at the threat of overload and flooding, and the unpleasant effects that come from sewage outflows.

An amendment to the housing and planning bill, to be discussed in the Lords on Monday, would remove this right and require builders to use “sustainable drainage systems”, which can include incorporating vegetation and other features to allow water to be naturally absorbed.

The government opposes the amendment, but a cross-party group of peers may muster enough votes from rebel Tories to defeat ministers.

Source: MPs to debate planning bill to protect UK homes from surface flooding | Environment | The Guardian

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