Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Sunday, 31 January 2010

Climate change predictions may harm regeneration plans

New guidelines ensure that future builds can cope with rising water levels

Concerns have arisen over climate change predictions which could result in coastal regeneration projects in the south west being scuppered.

The Government has issued councils with planning guidance designed to ensure new buildings can cope with increased flood levels over the next century.

Tim Jones, of Devon & Cornwall Business Council, fears that increased costs to incorporate them may deter developers.

The Environment Agency says the main priority is to ensure people's safety.

Resilient buildings

Steve Maddison, from the Environment Agency, added: "We need to ensure that people are going to be safe, that buildings are going to be resilient and that public funds are not going to be spent in the future on protecting these new developments.

"However, the main priority is that people's lives are not at risk for the future lifetime of these developments."

We cannot afford to deliver the regeneration which is crucial to the economy
Tim Jones, Devon & Cornwall Business Council

But Mr Jones, who chairs Devon and Cornwall Business Council, claims that the plans could have a negative impact on the local economy.

"The costs of compliance, mitigation and flood protection are enormous and the knock-on effect is that a lot of essential regeneration sites will not be brought forward," he said.

"We cannot afford to deliver the regeneration which is crucial to the economy."

He is calling for the government to balance flood risks with the need for regeneration.

In addition to wanting the regulations phased in, he is calling for the economic merits of each proposed development to be considered too.

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