Greenbelt's SUDS at work!

This was this scene last night in Elrick in Aberdeenshire as heavy rainstorms battered the region and flood alerts were put out right across the North-East of Scotland.

Thankfully, this is also Leddach Grange, Burnland, a development in Elrick where the green spaces are managed by Greenbelt ­– and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are an integral part of the company’s operations.

Alerted to the torrents of water by a concerned resident, our out-of-hours customer services team moved into action to ensure the SUDS were doing their job.

Designed as a series of inter-connected vegetated systems, these systems can provide temporary storage of rainfall run-off.

They are crucial in helping to reduce the incidence and severity of urban flooding from surface water run-off.

Providing temporary storage, combined with the controlled release of this water, the risk of flooding to homes can be greatly reduced, and this process helps to ‘clean’ the run-off before it reaches our streams and rivers.

Greenbelt’s SUDS withstood the unseasonal deluge and all homes and their occupants were safe and sound.

Janet McQuillan, Greenbelt’s Head of Operational Services, said: “Our out-of-hours staff contacted me to say they had an emergency call from Aberdeen about possible flooding due to heavy rainfall.

“We put in place our emergency procedures and I also contacted a resident with whom we have liaised over many years to find out if he could give me an on-the-spot account.

“He was more than happy to do so and provided us with all of the information we needed almost instantly and I was able to feed it to our contractor and out-of-hours staff to provide an immediate response.”

SUDS provide other benefits, in addition to minimising flood risk. They also improve the quality of our watercourses.

And by offering attractive and biodiversity-rich green and blue areas within developments, SUDS can be an environmentally sound drainage solution, protecting and enhancing the natural landscape.

Having effective SUDS in place not only reduces risk of flooding, but also helps to safeguard against further flood-related problems – including floundering house prices and skyrocketing insurance premiums.

Of course, Greenbelt remains at the forefront of SUDS management in the UK and is an acknowledged leader in this area. Having invested in research with scientists at Abertay University and consulted extensively with government agencies, we frequently use our experience and expertise to assist key decision makers with future strategies for their best and most effective management.

Chief Executive Alex Middleton commented: “Flooding can have a devastating effect on homeowners, local authorities and developers.

“This latest incidence in Aberdeenshire certainly highlights the scale of the problem it represents – equally, it demonstrates just how effectual Greenbelt's SUDS can be.

“This, along with the swift action of our customer services team and site operatives, shows why Greenbelt is recognised across the UK as a responsible and effective land management guardian – even when the heavens open and do their worst!”