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PEEL HOLDINGS TAKES ON ENVIRONMENT AGENCY OVER SALFORD FLOOD ZONES
 

Star date: 29th June 2012

SALFORD FLOOD POLICY ATTACKED BY PEEL

Peel Holdings cost tax payers ten of thousands of pounds last week when it won a High Court ruling to re-classify its land at the side of the Manchester Ship Canal as within a lower ranking flood zone.

Peel won the case against the Environment Agency over its categorisation of `sluice gates', but the implications for Salford's flood zone are huge – it means that the multi £billion company will find it easier to build new developments along the sides of its canal.

See Part 2 of the Peel Deal here…


Flood Zones and the Manchester Ship Canal
click image to enlarge

The PEEL DEAL: PART 2

See Part 1 – Peel Holdings Incinerator Disgrace – click here…

Flood Risk Versus Economic Development?

Sluice Gates? Sluice Gates have never been so controversial. Indeed, last week there was a 43 page High Court judgement that delved into every definition of sluice gates conceivable, as Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the Environment Agency had got its classification wrong.

Her ruling has vast implications for Salford and beyond as, unless the Environment Agency successfully appeals, the Flood Zone around the Manchester Ship Canal will have to be downgraded, making it easier for Peel Holdings to stick its concrete developments up all along the 36 miles of the Ship Canal banks, which runs from Salford Quays and MediaCItyUK to Barton and beyond.

Sluice Gates? They are the things that, with locks, regulate water levels, and there's five sets of them along the Manchester Ship Canal. The main question was whether these sluice gates can be classed as formal flood defences or not.

If they are formal flood defences - which is how the Environment Agency defined them - under Government Policy Statement PPS25 they have to be disregarded when assessing flood risk, with an assumption that they don't work and remain closed at time of flooding. This puts the whole area around the Canal in Flood Zone 3a, with a High Probability of floodingthus obliging Salford and Trafford councils to turn down most developments in the zone.

If the sluices aren't formal flood defences then, under the same Government policy, they are assumed to be working at times of flooding, putting the area in the lesser Flood Zone 2, with a Medium Probability of flooding.

As the Judge's report points out, Peel owns 300 acres of land in the vicinity of the Canal, and "much of this land is either developed or available for development…Designation in Flood Zone 3a adversely affects the value of the land because it reduces its development potential…"

The case in point was Pomona Island on the Trafford side of the Canal where Peel plans for 1500 dwellings had no chance of getting planning permission once the area had been classified as 3a.

The only way that the expert Environment Agency's decision to classify the area as Flood Zone 3a could be challenged was if it was deemed to be `irrational or perverse'.

The Judge ruled that, because the primary purpose of the sluices was not flood defence but to regulate water, while "sluices make a valuable contribution to flood reduction" they are not formal flood defences, and the Environment Agency's decision was therefore `irrational'.

The decision has cost tax payers 70% of Peel Holdings' costs and an `interim payment' of £55,000. Plus the floodgates are now open for Peel Holdings to concrete over vast swathes of the Manchester Ship Canal banks…

A story on Peels' barristers website 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, states that the new revision of the Flood Zones "will have (for Peel and other landowners) the highly beneficial effect that more land will fall within Flood Zone 2 so greatly increasing the prospect of its development".

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "Following the court's judgment, we are considering our next steps and deciding whether or not to seek leave to appeal.

"Flood Zone 2 in the area of the Manchester Ship Canal remains unaffected by the judgement and it remains a requirement to conduct robust flood risk assessments in relation to local planning applications" the spokesperson added "We will be working closely with local authorities to ensure they are kept informed of any changes to the flood map, and to ensure they can interpret the map in relation to flood risk in the area surrounding the canal."

See Salford Flood Risk Map at the Environment Agency website - click here

PEEL DEAL PART 3 - How Many Jobs at Port Salford? Haven't we heard it all before with MediaCityUK? Coming soon...


 

Alex wrote
at 15:57:28 on 28 December 2015
"The Manchster Ship Canal has never flooded"- I could now take a picture from my back window and prove that just just something hasnt happened does mean it never will. Two days ago the MSC breached in several location, including behind my house covering about 50 acres. That only in a small are near Lymm. Peel are less concerned about risk to property and people than they are money. No argument will ever change that. Risk is their world and they take the risk.
 
Tell it how it is wrote
at 06:03:58 on 05 April 2013
John you say like the judgement did, that the EA wrongly chose to classify sluice gates as flood defence, but the flood map produced by the EA is always based on a worst case senario, as you point out "sluice gates let water out" and as i am sure you are aware the level of the canal is managed in that the amount of water passing through certain sections can be controlled. However what would happen if that control were to fail, that is if sluces were not opened and the river rose to flood levels, this can happen when you build lock gates across waterways if you don't let the water out then it rises. Are the people whos houses would be at risk not entitled to some form of protection or warning? I would sugest to Peel that if they want to build near the canal then they need to close it to traffic and remove the lock gates allowing the river to resume a natural flow, but then they don't want to do that do they as that would scupper several big projects such as Port Salford and the Barton hydro dam.
 
John Randle wrote
at 19:04:12 on 04 April 2013
This is biased reporting. The Environment Agency cost the taxpayer 'tens of thousands' when it wrongly chose to classify sluice gates as flood defence. Sluice gates let water out. The MSC is a major drainage system which actually prevents flooding. The MSC has never flooded. Why should Peel Holdings be prevented from selling land for much needed housing in an area crying out for new homes and employment.
 
Tjl wrote
at 11:19:16 on 07 July 2012
Very curious story, if the sluices and lock gates work why assume they don't. So bizarre of the Environment Agency to miss such a fundamental factor. It's like saying you have a plug or an overflow in a sink but they are never used. I have never heard of the canal flooding presumably as the lock gates and sluices work. The way the article is written seems to focus on the company not the EA or such a strange view that the canal doesn't work when it worked long before Peel or the Salford Star were dreamt of. If the Salford Star was around at the time of construction of the canal I wonder how it would have reacted.
 
James wrote
at 06:01:50 on 04 July 2012
Peel Holdings invest in Salford, Oh no! What a disaster. See you are as objective as ever. Some news socialism is dead!!! Shame on you Salford Star for once again seeing only negatives in something which could bring jobs and prosperity to our city. I for one hope Peel continue to invest in the long term here.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:43:02 on 02 July 2012
If, or rather when, Peel Grabbings sorry Holdings build houses in these areas and then those homes are continually flooded will Peel be liable to pay compensation to the people who buy them? Or will, as usual, the thieving bastards walk away with a shed load of other people's money? No attempt at objectivity Alex because I see Peel for what they are.
 
Alex Lewis wrote
at 10:16:31 on 02 July 2012
This story makes no pretence at onjevtivity. It would be equally logical to blame the Envoronment Agency, rather than Peel Holdings, for the cost to the public purse. It is obvious that the writer des not like Peel Holdings, and has allowed this to comploetely distort the way the story is written.
 
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