The government is asked to implement a new bricks and water sustainability code for house-building to account for future flood and drought risk. A cross-party inquiry, published by Policy Connect and the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, states that by 2050 climate change could see 2.5 million homes in England face the flood risk that just 4.48% of homes face now – with cost to the taxpayer of dealing with the damage caused by flooding already running over £1 billion every year.
Moreover, the report estimated that an extra 4 billion litres of water will be needed every day by 2050, with projected water demand shortfalls of 22%. As the government advances on its target to build 1.5 million new homes by 2022, WSBF warns of a need to ‘rethink’ the house building agenda to include flooding and drought risk
A brand new bricks and water sustainability code should be implemented in order to achieve fairer, tougher and simpler planning framework. WBS also recommends the new environmental watchdog body proposed by environment secretary Michael Gove is independent with robust powers to hold government to account.
“WSBF’s in-depth year-long inquiry into housing, water and planning policy strongly concludes that the government needs to act now to improve guidance and standards for the houses that being built – water is a precious resource and we must use it wisely,” said Angela Smith MP and Baroness McIntosh. “The government needs to ensure we are building the green, water-efficient, flood-resilient communities.”
The report suggests the relationships between water companies, housebuilders and local authorities are disorganised and have no designated forum to initiate strategic discussions about how to tackle problems at scale or nationally. Each sector is said to have had a different planning horizon leading to ‘incoherence of approach’, with palpable distrust between some housebuilders and water companies evidenced by breakdown in communication.