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Some 5.9 million properties in England and Wales are now at risk of flooding (Source: Environment Agency). This number will only increase as the urgent need to build new homes across England and Wales puts additional pressures on drainage systems.

Against this background, the issue of flood risk arises increasingly as a basis for objecting to planning applications and appeals. Landmark barristers advise regularly on the application of the sequential and exception tests for site selection under the National Planning Policy Framework, and act in some of the most important court cases (e.g. R (Watermead PC) v Aylesbury Vale DC [2018] P.T.S.R. 43).

Outside the planning context, many public bodies have functions relating to the general management of flood risk, chief amongst them the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and internal drainage boards. Landmark barristers have considerable experience of advising the full spectrum of stakeholders on issues of flood risk management arising under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the Land Drainage Act 1991 and the Water Resources Act 1991.

The common law also remains significant in relation to flooding. Many cases of actual flooding can give rise to liability in the torts of negligence and/or nuisance. In some cases, it might also be argued that a public body which has powers in relation to flood risk management is liable pursuant to Article 1 of the First Protocol to the ECHR. Our barristers have experience of acting for claimants and defendants in litigation of this nature, including group litigation claims.

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