New draft planning guidelines on flooding have been jointly published for public consultation by Minister for the Environment John Gormley and Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Dr Martin Mansergh. The 90-page document, entitled The Planning System and Flood Risk Management: Consultation Draft Guidelines for Planning Authorities is aimed at ensuring “a more consistent, rigorous and systematic approach to fully incorporate flood risk assessment and management into the planning system”. “Building on a flood plain is something we want to see ending,” Mr Gormley told reporters at Leinster House yesterday. The draft guidelines also draw attention to the increasingly frequent trend of paving over entire residential garden areas to provide off-street car parking and the flood implications of this. The guidelines contain a commitment by the Department of the Environment to review the exempted development regulations to ensure that only paving complying with sustainable drainage principles will be exempted under the exempted development provisions of the planning Acts.