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Bricks & Water: A plan of action for building homes and managing water in England

Bricks & Water: A plan of action for building homes and managing water in England

This inquiry is Co-Chaired by Conservative Peer Baroness McIntosh of Pickering and Labour’s Angela Smith, Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge.

The Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) is warning that government must rethink its approach to the housebuilding agenda to include flooding and drought risks in people’s homes.

Housebuilders are also ‘frustrated’ with the current construction framework, calling for ‘consistency in standards’. Bringing together how housing, water infrastructure and planning are managed so that the England can meet housing targets of 1.5 million new homes by 2022. 

Green infrastructure must be the norm for homes and communities, not concrete infrastructure. WSBF recommends that a brand new ‘Bricks and Water’ Sustainability Code is implemented for a fairer, tougher and simpler planning framework supported by building regulations. This will level the playing field to current best industry practice and support all developers, large and small, to deliver the very highest water efficiency and flood resilience standards.

With major cuts absorbed by the Environment Agency, Natural England and local councils, there is doubt in the capacity and independence provided by Government environmental bodies for their responsibilities for monitoring and regulating housing.

In tandem, WSBF recommends the new ‘environmental watchdog’ strategic body, proposed by the Environment Secretary, is truly independent of Government. It should have powers to fully hold government to account, and provide leadership on water management to make things happen on the ground. It should face the Housing Ministry as well as the Environment Department to ensure that housing development is sustainable.

We would particularly like to thank the sponsors of this report: headline sponsor Anglian Water, and co-sponsors Affinity Water, Thames Water, the British Board of Agrément,Yorkshire Water and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.