Protecting The Pipes: Hull’s Flood Risk Planning Policy is the First of its Kind
Hull has become the first city in the UK to implement legally-binding guidelines promoting sustainable drainage. Hull has been dubbed the ‘flood capital of the UK’, with 90% of the city based below the high tide line, and 98% of homes built in areas at high risk of flooding. With a long history of flooding throughout Yorkshire, measures must be taken in the face of climate change to cope with the increased risk.
What’s Special About Hull’s Flood Policy?
The new guidelines are the result of a collaboration between Hull City Council and Yorkshire Water to address concerns that are still rife twelve years on from the 2007 flooding crisis in the city. This is the first time in UK history that a local authority has worked with a water company to take measures to reduce the flood risk. The plan will ensure that property developers are consistent, and adhere to legal guidelines when planning the infrastructure for new buildings to ensure that the surface water entering Hull’s drainage system does not increase as a result of new developments. All water fittings installed in a city’s network must meet WRAS standards and be supplied by approved sources like EasyMerchant and independent approved contractors, but this is the first time planners have also had to meet legal guidelines for sustainable drainage, with requirements to include swales, reed beds and ponds in new developments.
What is Sustainable Drainage?
Sustainable drainage promotes water management policies that align drainage systems with natural water processes, and are implemented to prevent flooding and water pollution in cities. With the urgent need to build more homes across the country, sustainable drainage is paramount, as increased pressure on the drainage system could increase the risk of flooding. Developments adhering to sustainable drainage policies include natural drainage systems like permeable paving and ponds to decrease the pressure on the drainage network. This minimises the risk of flooding, both for the new developments and the cities they join, and can also provide habitats for wildlife and increase the green spaces in urban areas.
Hull’s new policy will require planners to design green drainage systems to ensure a safe future for the city’s inhabitants, with the hope that the devastation caused by the floods in 2007 will never be repeated, and that new properties will not present a risk to the current drainage system.