DEVELOPERS planning to build in flood risk areas could be hit by extra levies in the future, a firm of solicitors has warned.

House builders have rejected government moves to make them create ponds to catch rainwater run-off at their developments.

And in the absence of a national agreement, councils could act unilaterally to make developers pay, according to Dorset law firm Coles Miller.

The Flood Act 2010 forces developers to make provision for rainwater runoff so it can seep into the ground. But housebuilders are reluctant to sacrifice land on their sites.

They prefer the idea of underground tanks but the government has been told natural drainage is cheaper.

The resulting four-year impasse could lead to councils billing the owners of new homes for maintenance schemes relating to flooding.

Planning consultant James Cain, of Coles Miller’s Bournemouth office, said that in the absence of a national agreement, councils could seek to bill developers.

“The most likely mechanism for this would be the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL),” said Mr Cain, a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

“There is deadlock at a national level over how to reduce the impact of flooding but in the meantime Britain has suffered its worst storms in 40 years.

“Authorities across the UK are facing a huge clean-up bill and there is already significant pressure on their budgets.

“Our concern is that – in the absence of a national agreement – the authorities might use the Community Infrastructure Levy as a means of mitigating the cost of flood prevention measures.

“The sooner the house builders and the government reach a full agreement the better. This climate change issue is not going to go away.”

He recommended developers should seek specialist advice.