Thousands of new homes in the West Midlands are being built on floodplains and are in danger of ending up "unsaleable, uninhabitable and uninsurable", it has been claimed.
The Countryside Alliance claimed the region faces a "flooding time-bomb" after discovering 3,655 new homes are earmarked to be constructed on floodplains or flood risk areas.
Nearly 1,500 of them are in Birmingham, 840 in Sandwell, 580 in North Shropshire, 377 Telford & Wrekin, 284 in Stratford-upon-Avon and 100 in Nuneaton and Bedworth.
The Alliance called for an audit to see whether they were safe and urged local authorities not to make what it described as short-sighted decisions in a bid to solve housing shortages.
The warning comes as two influential reports accused the Government of under-estimating the flood risk facing Britain.
Last year’s unprecedented summer downpours cost insurers £3 billion in payouts, including £700 million in the West Midlands as severe flooding hit Shropshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
Changes to planning rules in 2006 forced local authorities to consider carefully before allowing developments in flood risk areas.
But the Countryside Allowance – which obtained details from 22 local authorities in the West Midlands under the Freedom of Information Act – said it found in many cases go-ahead for building had been given in flood zones prior to 2006.
Clare Rowson, Midlands regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "There is no point addressing the problem of affordable housing by building houses that are unsustainable because of flooding.
"Allowing inappropriate development in flood risk areas is wrong whenever the decision was made. The alternative is a time-bomb of thousands of uninsurable homes in the West Midlands under constant risk of flooding."
Earlier this year the Association of British Insurers warned a third of the three million new homes the Government plans to build by 2020 could be on floodplains.
It said insurance firms would reconsider providing policies for people living in such areas if they do not have sufficient defences.
Last night a spokeswoman said: "We don’t want people building on floodplains. Essentially, it could leave homes unsaleable, uninhabitable and uninsurable."
Concern has recently been raised over a growing flood risk to Birmingham because manufacturers are no longer extracting huge quantities of water from the ground to power industry. Meanwhile a team of scientists at Durham University yesterday warned the amount of properties at risk of flooding across the UK is probably being under-estimated.
They maintained current estimates are based on records that began less than 50 years ago when there was a period of less flooding. Their own examination of rainfall and river flows since 1753 indicates Britain is entering a "flood rich" period.
Prof Lane, from Durham University’s new Institute of Hazard and Risk, said: "We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people’s living memory."
Earlier this week a cross-party group of MPs raised concern over Britain’s flood defences. The Environment Select Committee warned the £800 million a year pledged by the Government to prevent a repeat of last summer’s disaster was "inadequate".
It claimed the figure was based on coastal and river flooding and failed to take into account that about two thirds of last June and July’s devastation was caused by surface water, often following heavy rainfall.
However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs denied it was unprepared.
"The Government recognises we need to spend more on flood defences, which is why we have more than doubled the spending on flood and coastal erosion risk management in cash terms, to an estimated £650 million this year, rising to £800 million in 2010/2011," said a spokesman.