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Anger at plans to raise levies over levees

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Kent County Council logo

by political editor Paul Francis

Kent County Council has criticised plans that would see developers shouldering the responsibility of paying for flood defence work.

Council chiefs say levies on developers may not be enough to cover the costs and could put the brakes on house-building.

Under Government plans, KCC will be handed the job of managing flood risk across the county and will be expected to meet the costs of any work by charging developers when they receive planning permission for schemes.

But a report presented to KCC’s Conservative cabinet says the Government’s measures are unrealistic and money raised from developers is already over-stretched.

Under so-called Section 106 agreements, developers are required to contribute to the additional costs of new roads and extra school places created when more homes are built.

Cllr Nick Chard (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for the environment, said: "it does concern me that the Government is expecting the money to come from increasing the burden on developers. I support the thrust of the Bill but this kind of work costs hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Government should be putting this money up."

He added: "We already know that developers are struggling to fund Section 106 agreements and this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It will mean development will not happen and we will not get the money."

The Government’s proposals are in part a response to a report by former KCC chief executive Mike Pitt examining the extensive floods in 2007. His inquiry found gaps in the way flood risk is managed.

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