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WHY WE SHOULD BUILD HOMES IN FLOOD ZONES



Kabina’s flood-adaptive homes

The UK population increased from 56m to 64m from 2000 until now and is likely to reach 80m by 2050. This creates a need for 300,000 new homes a year. Nearly every town and city in the UK is located by the coast or by a river and has areas of cheap, available flood risk land within or next to settlements. Flood risk is likely to increase due to climate change.

This argues strongly for new residential developments on flood risk land rather than between towns and cities in open countryside, requiring residents to drive significant distances to access existing facilities and infrastructure.


The Kabina system - going with the flow rather building walls

Kabina’s approach is to allow water to flow and to manage the flow so that people can live happily and securely with the flow.

Kabina’s plan for a residential site of multiple homes (10 to 300 homes) is to create swales (dry channels), using the spoil to raise the access roads. Houses will sit in the swales, which during a flood, would fill with water.

Homes will sit on concrete foundation boxes that have buoyancy and will be tethered to guiding piles to make sure they remain in position during a flood event. The homes will have access to utilities via flexible pipes. In extreme flood events the mains utilities can be shut off and the homes can become independent and self-reliant, with their own power and sewerage treatment.

Kabina has adapted existing Dutch technology for the UK landscape and has filed its system for patent.


The benefits of the Kabina system

The system enables new homes to be located next to existing towns and away from the Green Belt, so giving residents easy access to transport, retail, leisure, educational, commercial and public services.

The landscaping and investment in SuDs (sustainable drainage systems) have a net positive effect on flood management, not just for the new development itself but for existing adjacent residents. This could result in a significant savings to HM Treasury because within Kabina developments there will be considerable investment in flood management infrastructure, so relieving financial pressure on the Environment Agency to provide expensive flood defences.

The low density schemes and waterscaping provides an ideal environment for wetland flora and fauna.


Planning policy

Government policy currently pushes new residential schemes away from flood risk land and therefore away from existing towns to open country sites at higher levels. This impacts the natural environment, promotes car travel, and creates further flooding at lower levels.

The policy is out-of-date because it doesn’t recognise the validity and applicability of #floodadaptive technology.


This is why Kabina has been pressing for changes in the guidance notes to the National Planning Policy Framework such that the Kabina system can be recognised as ‘appropriate’ and ‘safe’ in functional flood plains.