New flood risk rules in Blaenau Gwent delayed until next year
ALL planning applications in Blaenau Gwent up to June 2023 will be decided under the current planning policies when it comes to areas affected by flooding issues, councillors have been told.
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee was told that implementing the updated policy - known as TAN-15 (Technical Advice Note) which deals with flooding, and new flood maps to be used with planning applications - has been postponed for 18 months.
The new policy and flood maps had been expected to come into force on last month, but has now been put back to June 1, 2023.
The updated policies are supposed to respond to the climate emergency and address the “significant impact” flooding has on Wales.
Blaenau Gwent development management team manager Steph Hopkins told councillors, when the new maps and updated TAN-15 were published at the end of September last year, concern was raised by local authorities that consultation on the changes had been “limited.”
Ms Hopkins said: “The local authorities felt they were being denied an opportunity to assess the impact and consequences of the change, some of which were profound to some authorities and the regeneration of their towns and cities.
“As a result of this they called for a deferment, and that was agreed by the Welsh Government.”
She explained that the extra time granted will be used to review the effects that flooding could have on councils and the areas they serve, and to identify where “flood risk management schemes” are needed.
Ms Hopkins added: “In terms of Blaenau Gwent work is already under way on the required assessment set out by Welsh Government.
“This work includes assessing key development sites to see whether they will be affected, to what extent, and what potential measures will need to be put in place.”
Changes to flooding maps will also need to be assessed and if needs be, “challenges” lodged, explained Ms Hopkins.
Cllr Gareth L Davies said: “We have one planning (application) that’s been held back because of these laws, would it affect the ones already in, or is it too early to say?”
Ms Hopkins replied: “The applications that we have in now, will be determined under the current TAN-15 and advice maps.”
She explained that the planning application mentioned by Cllr Davies has been held back because of “uncertainty in December” on whether the changes would come into force, or be postponed.
Ms Hopkins said: “Any other applications determined before June 1 2023, will be under the existing TAN and maps.”
“Hopefully we’re not as badly affected as other local authorities, who have been really hit by the changes.
“We will see. It’s going to be a huge piece of work and we’ll keep you informed.”