Water resources are renewable but not unlimited, and our District is one of the most water scarce areas in the UK. Given climate change forecasts and population increases, this situation is likely to worsen.
The risk of flooding within the district is diverse; the coastal settlements of Sandwich, Deal and Dover are all shown (to some degree) to be at risk of flooding from the sea, with the River Stour and River Dour presenting a fluvial risk of flooding to the settlements bordering these rivers. The centre of the district is in parts low lying, and the varied topography throughout the district can present a risk of surface water flooding to both rural and urban communities. The NPPF states that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk (whether existing or future). Where development is necessary in such areas, the development should be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere. Given this, it is important that the Council actively manages this risk through the planning process to ensure that new development takes into consideration the impact of future climate change and is designed to mitigate risk.
Flooding from surface water runoff typically occurs following an extreme rainfall event, where water from higher in the catchment flows overland and accumulates in topographic depressions. This is further exacerbated in areas with steeply sloping topography, low permeability ground conditions (e.g. urban areas), or where the surface water drainage system (e.g. highway gullies) are overwhelmed. The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2019) highlights a number of areas in the District that are susceptible to surface water flooding and it is likely that this will be further exacerbated by the extreme weather events associated with climate change. Given this it will be necessary to include mechanisms in the Plan to manage surface water in a sustainable manner, primarily through the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), to reduce the risk of flooding through reducing surface run off rates on site or elsewhere within the catchment.
Global sea levels will continue to rise, depending on greenhouse gas emissions and the sensitivity of the climate system. The reliance of villages and towns (such as, Deal and Sandwich) on tidal flood defence infrastructure will increase over the next century as sea levels increase. The consequences of such structures failing (i.e. a breach), or becoming overtopped, will therefore increase too. Given this, there is a need to reduce the risk from coastal change by avoiding inappropriate development in vulnerable areas and not exacerbating the impacts of physical changes to the coast.