Flooding and coastal erosion risk caused by climate change will have to be taken into account in future developments in Wales, according to the Welsh government.
In a UK first, developers will have to work with flood risk and coastal erosion maps that have been made available today, showing not only current risk levels but also the risk posed by climate change.
The new planning policy, known as TAN 15, will inform future local development plans and decisions on planning applications in areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion.
The policy is clear that new homes, emergency services, schools and hospitals must not be built in areas of high flood risk without strong flood defences, with Welsh ministers able to overrule local planning decisions that go against this advice.
Climate change minister, Julie James, said: ‘Flood risk and coastal erosion in Wales is increasing as a result of climate change. Serious flooding events are becoming more frequent and some areas currently at little risk will become vulnerable to flooding as our climate continues to change.
‘As the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales recognises, the planning system can help communities be more resilient to the effects of climate change by locating development in areas away from risk of flooding. Improved knowledge of the places which will be at risk in the future can help keep people safe, by preventing the damage and disruption to homes, workplaces and infrastructure that flooding can cause.’
The Flood Map for Planning identifies four types of flood zone, with each zone having particular advice in TAN 15 for proposed developments.
The new policy will come into force on 1 December, with all planning applications awaiting a decision and new planning applications assessed against the new advice and map after that date.
In related news, the government has published plans to invest £5.2bn in flood schemes over the next six years, with over £860m expected to support flood alleviation schemes.
Photo supplied by the Welsh government