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More homes in flood risk areas

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The proportion of homes built in high flood risk zones has risen, according to the latest government statistics.

The Land Use Change statistical bulletin, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, shows that the proportion of new dwellings built in high flood risk areas increased from 9% in 2005 to 10% a year later.

The bulletin follows last month's publication of the government-commissioned Pitt review, which recommended that there should be a "presumption" against building in areas at risk of inundation.

Shadow communities secretary Eric Pickles, responding to the figures, said: "We need to build more homes, but they must stand the test of time and be homes that families will actually want to live in.

"In years to come, I fear that many of these new developments may simply be uninsurable or blighted with exorbitant premiums. Rather than delivering homes to high environmental standards, Labour is building the sink estates of the 21st Century."

The bulletin coincided with a major clean-up operation in the North Ayrshire town of Kilbirnie after torrential rain caused a river to burst its banks.

More than 30 firefighters were deployed to areas badly affected by flood water from the River Garnock.

The figures also show that the proportion of homes on brownfield sites dipped from 76 to 75%.

This fall, which continues a similarly small decline last year, reverses a long-term increase in the number of homes being developed on already developed sites.

And fears about so called "garden grabbing" development will be fuelled by figures showing that shows that the share of housing developed on previously-residential as opposed to vacant sites rose from 19 to 22%.

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