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Flood levy plan puts Thames Gateway future 'in jeopardy'

Government proposals to levy charges on developers building in flood planes could scupper plans for the Thames Gateway, the House Builders Federation has warned.

Under new proposals, outlined by flooding minister Elliot Morley, developers will be forced to help fund the construction of flood defences. The ad-hoc system of section 106 agreements with local authorities would be replaced by a unified system overseen by the Environment Agency.

But HBF's head of public affairs, Pierre Williams, said developers could abandon their plans for areas such as the Thames Gateway, which is being pushed by the government as the answer to London's housing problems. 'As an industry we are happy to play our part, but plans must be realistic. The government will find its plans will curtail development. If a site is viable, they will build. If not, they won't.'

However, a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the proposals set out the government's belief in the 'not unreasonable' principle that developers should contribute when building on land under threat of flooding.

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