Expanded Flood Prevention Requirements for New Homes

Quick Facts!

  • JBA Risk Management estimates that the cost of a 200-year flood event could escalate to £5 billion by 2050—42% higher than current values.
  • In response to climate change predictions, the government has updated its flood risk and coastal change planning guidance to better protect homes from flooding.

Climate change is expected to make destructive flooding worse. Intense rainfall combined with rising sea levels has helped to drive more severe flooding across the UK in recent years. In fact, sea levels have risen faster over the past 100 years than they have in the 3,000 years prior, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the cost of such severe flood events is forecast to become much more expensive, according to JBA Risk Management. JBA estimates that the cost of a 200-year flood event could escalate to £5 billion by 2050—42% higher than current values.

In response to climate change predictions, the government has released an updated version of its flood risk and coastal change guidance, with the aim of better protecting new homes from flooding. Published on 25th August 2022, the updated planning guidance will help local councils ensure that developments in locations at risk of flooding meet strict criteria before they’re approved.

About the Planning Guidance

The flood risk and coastal change guidance was first published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 6th March 2014. Its implementation was designed to help planners consider flood risk when making planning decisions. However, despite the guidance, new homes are still being built in high-risk areas. In fact, 5,283 dwellings were approved in local authority areas with high flood risk in 2021, according to a report by insurer LV=. Furthermore, according to the same report, just 12% of local authorities feel they have the skills and expertise to understand flood risk when deciding on planning applications. The updates in the guidance—outlined below—may improve this statistic.

Updates Explained

The updated planning guidance, which went into effect 25th August 2022, expands on the original version, making it easier for planners to apply government policy and meet the challenges of climate change. The amendments include:

  • Guidance pertaining to how councils should consider future flood risk.

Expectations that councils must ensure new homes meet strict flood prevention recommendations before approving developments. For example, flood-resilient building materials—such as water-resistant insulation—are required for all new

  • developments in flood-risk areas. It’s also required that plug sockets are moved higher up on walls.
  • Enhanced guidance on local biodiversity, natural flood management techniques and how developers can control surface water run-off.
  • Advice to ensure homes are built in low-risk areas with sustainable drainage, allowing communities to mitigate the future impact of climate change.

These additions are designed to help councils ensure approved developments are safe from flooding for their lifetime, won’t increase flood risk elsewhere and may even reduce flood risk overall.

This updated guidance builds on the UK government’s promise to invest £5.3 billion into the creation of 2,000 new flood defence schemes by 2027. Additionally, it’s hoped that the new measures will facilitate the availability of suitable and affordable home insurance.


With the updated flood risk and coastal change planning guidance, local councils should be better placed to deliver resilient and sustainable developments for future generations.

To read the guidance in full, please visit the government website. Contact us today to discuss flood cover.


Legal Specific Disclaimer: 

The following information is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to specific circumstances. The content therefore should not be regarded as constituting legal or regulatory advice and not be relied upon as such. Readers should contact a legal or regulatory professional for appropriate advice. Further, the law may have changed since the first publication of this information.


The content of this Cover Overview is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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