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Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Member warns councils to listen to experts over bids to build in flood risk areas

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A total of 341 planning applications for development on flood risk areas have been approved by local authorities in Wales since 2004 against the advice of experts, shock figures obtained by Plaid Cymru have revealed.

The approvals, without the support of flood risk experts from the Environment Agency Wales, hit a high point with 133 in 2005-06. Numbers fell after the recession started to just five in 2009-10. Application approvals contrary to advice have started rising again and were 15 in 2012-13.

Wales and England has been battered by storms and flooding with thousands of homes flooded over the last couple of months.

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities, Energy and Food said: "The recent floods and storms have proved, once and for all I hope, that we must start taking climate change more seriously. That means that planning guidance must take into account the added risk of building on flood plains.

"It’s incredibly worrying that councils are still ignoring the advice of experts and potentially causing huge problems for people in the future.

"There are 22,000 homes and businesses in Wales where flooding has been assessed as a 1:30 year risk. A further 40,000 properties have a 1:100 year risk. As we see more and more extreme weather patterns, it’s entirely possible that these frequencies will increase. The last thing we want to do is build more homes that are under threat from extreme weather."

The figures provided to Plaid Cymru relate to planning approvals in flood risk areas and not those built. Natural Resources Wales has now taken over the functions of the Environment Agency in Wales.

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