What does the future look like for SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems)?

Wavin-waterThe UK’s inability to cope with excess rainfall has always been a contentious issue and one that’s been in the news again recently following the House of Commons’ rejection of the Lords’ amendment on SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems).

The affect of flooding in the UK

As part of our Water Matters campaign in October 2015, we held a debate on flooding in the UK. The Environment Agency’s Alison Baptiste, Director of Strategy and Investment, was on the panel and stated of flood management: ‘’We are working with partners so that, if we do our bit, they can do theirs. We will be ready for the next big flood if we all do our bit [and] we have record investment over the next six years with £2.3bn in defences.’’

Unfortunately, when storms Desmond, Eva and Frank subsequently hit two months later, the UK saw over 16,000 homes flooded and insurance claims in the region of £1.6bn. These staggering statistics confirm that, as a country, we simply don’t have the tools in place to prevent or reduce the effects of flooding.

We urge the government to go beyond its current target and aim to have virtually all its critical assets meeting the Environment Agency’s required condition by 2019. Mary Creagh | Labour MP & Environmental Audit Committee Committee Chairwoman

Developers encouraged to use SuDS

Given the eye-watering costs incurred by flooding, it could be assumed that building better resilience to flooding would be a priority for the government – particularly considering their promise to development hundreds of thousands of new homes in the next few years – but the recent rejection of the House of Lord’s amendment on SuDS suggests otherwise.

The Lords’ proposed amendment would have removed the automatic right of developers to connect to public sewers for surface water and would instead have encouraged use of SuDS to absorb rainwater.

Housing developers don’t currently have to comply to reduce flooding, so this amendment would have meant the secretary of state carrying out a review of the planning legislation, government planning policy (introduced in April 2015) and arising local planning policies concerning sustainable drainage.