Greenbelt welcomes SuDS move

Greenbelt welcomes SuDS move

New consultation could help protect your home

Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has launched a consultation to resolve the remaining barriers to the implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010), pertaining to the use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS)  in England and Wales.

The move is welcomed by Greenbelt – who currently manage more than 100 SuDS nationwide – and comes in the wake of a fresh campaign from the company to address continued delay in delivering a coherent process for the use of  sustainable drainage for new developments, which has stagnated for almost four years now.

The new consultation offers an alternative approach to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which proposed establishing an entirely separate consenting regime from that of the existing planning system for implementing SUDS.

Instead, the new proposals suggest using the established planning process to agree drainage schemes, which will offer developers a range of potential maintenance options.

An annex to the consultation also sets out the draft national standards and specified criteria for sustainable drainage schemes, against which proposed SuDS will be assessed.

SuDS are an integral part of Greenbelt’s operations. Designed as a series of inter-connected vegetated systems, SuDS to 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 of rainfall, 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.

SuDS provide other benefits, in addition to minimising flood risk and improving the quality of our watercourses – 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 helps to safeguard against further flood-related problems, including floundering house prices and skyrocketing insurance premiums.

Utilised correctly, SuDS ensure house prices remain high, insurance remains low - and crucially, homes stay dry!

Greenbelt, the UK’s leading land-management company, remains at the forefront of SuDS management in the UK, and frequently uses their experience and expertise in the area to assist key decision makers with future strategies for their best and most effective management.

Chief Executive Alex Middleton is delighted there are possible new options available for moving forward.

He said: “ Following our intensified call for further cohesive action, we are pleased that a definite new SuDS strategy has been compiled.

“Flooding has a hugely detrimental effect – for homeowners, local authorities and developers alike. We see the problems caused by flooding time and time again, and know just how effective SuDS can be.

“We hope this consultation will lead to swift action and better utilisation of the current planning processes and for SuDS.

“In the case of SuDS, swift action leads to better management – and that benefits everyone.”

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, it is anticipated that Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) will come into force in Spring 2015.