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Barker and Coutts recruited to draw up flood plain housing designs

The government has announced that it has commissioned Barker and Coutts Architects to work up pilot schemes for the development of housing on flood plains, a response to the threat of climate change and rising sea levels.

Barker and Coutts' scheme will be based on the work the practice has carried out with the Building Research Establishment on the Long-term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments (LIFE) initiative.

The LIFE work has so far come up with this design (pictured) for the East Thames Housing Group.

The decision by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to recruit Barker and Coutts is evidence of a growing awareness in government that traditional building on flood plains is not a good idea.

This is particularly apt in the Thames Gateway, where the government is planning thousands of new homes over the next decade.

Announcing the pilot scheme, minister for climate change and environment Ian Pearson said: 'We can't hide from the consequences of climate change.

'When we consider the possibility of higher sea levels and storms of greater intensity we have to start thinking differently about how to deal with flooding and coastal erosion - this means adapting to the consequences now and developing greater resilience.

'Climate change will ratchet up the threats faced by communities, which is why we need to investigate new and different responses to dealing with flooding and coastal erosion.

'These pilots will see whether we can push the boundaries of policy and test the potential of whether these innovative ideas can form part of our mainstream policy and delivery.

'Our aim is to get maximum value from taxpayers' money spent on reducing flood risk whilst delivering other benefits for communities and the environment if at all possible,' Pearson added.

by Ed Dorrell

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