Flooding: why SUDS are so important

Let's make it better!

Flooding: why SUDS are so important


We may be enjoying the last of the long days of summer – and what a wonderful summer it’s been! – but our thoughts must soon turn to the prospect of autumn then winter.

This not only promises to bring falling leaves and wetter weather, there is also the annual threat of flooding to contend with.

Last winter, over an extended period, the UK saw unprecedented flooding bring personal tragedy and financial calamity to many home owners and businesses.

It need not be this way, however. There are measures that can help combat the threat.

One of the most important is the implementation of wide-scale and development-driven SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems).

Essentially, SUDS are integrated, connected facilities designed to drain surface water in a way that will provide a sustainable approach to water management.

Greenbelt, the UK’s leading land management company, manages more than 100 SUDS nationwide. It is at the forefront of investigating solutions to assist the industry and its decision makers to move forward with a coherent strategy for SUDS.

Chief Executive Alex Middleton says: “Very often the perception of a company such as Greenbelt is that it simply cuts grass, plants trees and trims hedges. While the husbandry and nurturing of the local environment is hugely important, there is much more work going on, often unseen, that is helping to keep green spaces sustainable and our homes safe. A major component of this work is in SUDS.”

Mr Middleton has been spearheading calls for urgent action after successive stalemates in the implementation of SUDS in new developments.

He says: “Events last year demonstrated the huge scale of the problems we face in combatting urban flooding – further delays could lead to terrible consequences in the coming months and, indeed, the long term.

“Beyond the obvious impact of more flooding this year, there will be a detrimental effect on the house building industry.

“There are various approaches that can be adopted to achieve our anti-flood goals, but all require political will and coordination between the government, local authorities, developers and landowners.”

Having invested in research with scientists at Abertay University and consulted extensively with government agencies, Greenbelt is now urging greater debate – and action.

Mr Middleton notes: “Unless all those involved in flood prevention begin to work together for a coherent and cohesive approach to SUDS, inevitably the situation is only going to get worse.

“Let’s work, instead, to make it better!”