Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Thoughts and musings

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Lewis | March 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

It may not have taken centre stage this week out of the news out of Parliament this week; that award goes to generic “Brand X” packaging of cigarettes. However, if you’re in the industry, you’ll know how important sustainable drainage systems, or SuDS, are. As ‘green’ areas have been replaced by concrete due to urbanisation, the impermeability of the concrete means that rainwater can no longer soak through, and as such it will run into sewers. These can overflow, and flash flooding can occur. Due to this, SuDS have been a legislative requirement; they are porous and as a result, mimic natural drainage, reducing the aforementioned risk of flash flooding. An example of a sustainable drainage system is resin gravel surfacing. It’s porous design means it complies with Governmental regulations. However, it may not have been centre stage as I mentioned, but SuDS have been in Parliament, with talk of exemptions to SuDS to be scrapped.

As it currently stands, developments of fewer than ten houses do not need to comply with SuDS; any developments that exceed that number need to include SuDS on any new driveway surfaces or front garden paving surfaces. However, the debate in Parliament this week was regarding the possible scrapping of this exemption, so that every new development should be SuDS compliant. With flash flooding a serious issue – one only has to look at the terrible flooding in certain areas of the UK last year as a primary example – it seems any exemption to a regulation that helps rescue the impact of the surface water drainage system on one site has on another should be removed.

Here at Oakleigh Manor, we offer resin gravel surfacing as one of our many services, which comply with SuDS regulations. The porous product, when installed by our talented, experienced and fully qualified in-house teams can not only offer you an outstanding value for money; it also benefits the environment. The minimisation of pollution, flood control, the recharging of groundwater, greenfield run-off flow achievement, and the enhancement of a development’s environmental aspects as a whole are just a handful of benefits a SuDS compliant surface can offer.

Under the scrutiny of Parliament this week, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee warned that flood risks are being exacerbated by building on floodplains, and because of the current exemption to SuDS, inappropriate drainage systems are being used and as a result, they said that all new housing estates should have drainage that would be flood-resistant, regardless of the size. This was all brought to light in a parliamentary report. What they are proposing is that developments less than ten houses would need to follow the same procedures to those over ten houses, and that is to go through the Environmental Agency for approval. They have a strong case; there are clear risks, and the devastation that a flood can cause not only to property, but also to the lives of people, should be avoided at every possible turn.

This was summed up by the Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, who said: “Continuing to build houses on floodplains at high risk of flooding is foolhardy as this is merely storing up risks and costs for the future. With flooding likely to increase the government should enforce existing powers to require sustainable drainage systems in all developments”. As soon as news filters of any developments regarding this, we will inform you via another blog post.

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