A CHESTER firm has welcomed the news that all new developments in England will be required to make sustainable drainage systems a mandatory requirement by 2024.
Sustainable drainage systems, or SuDS, are a natural approach to drainage which closely mimics nature and manages rainfall as close to where it falls as possible.
They are also designed to combat the risk of flooding and water pollution and reduce pressure on current drainage and sewerage systems.
The government’s plans were confirmed this week by Defra in a new review of drainage regulations. The rules will come into effect from next year.
It comes as UK weather and climate records are being set more frequently and a projected increase in the urban population is anticipated between now and 2030.
A growing population, climate change and urbanisation are all expected to add to the existing pressures of the country’s ‘constrained traditional sewers’, which has a knock-on effect for local surface and sewer flooding.
Lisa Sawyer, director of civil engineering at Land Studio, a leading landscape architecture and engineering design studio headquartered in Chester, welcomed the news.
She said: “We’re delighted to hear that the Government review is making sustainable drainage systems a legal requirement for new developments in England. They are part of the future of good landscape design ensuring they are not just storage or conveyance features but bring multi-functional qualities with amenity and biodiversity in mind.
“We believe that all developments need good drainage systems in place in order for them to function effectively and to be future-proof in terms of climate change.
“As a practice, we are using SuDS techniques on an increasing number of our projects across the UK, helping water to be naturally absorbed into the ground and rivers. We’re also working with a growing number of housing developers who want to ensure that water management solutions are integrated into their designs from early-stage concept.
“Putting the right water control structures and strategies in place, often using the existing ground profile, allows water to be slowed down and held back in a natural way.”
There are different types of sustainable drainage systems which can be used to limit the impact of rainfall, particularly in this time of climate change. They include permeable surfaces, soakaways, wetlands and grassed areas.
Writing in the review, the Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Water is a valuable resource and managing it in an integrated way can provide multiple benefits.
“The increasing demand for housing water supply and sewerage must be met in a sustainable way and support our natural environment. I think we need to go further with sewerage connections and fully embrace nature-based solutions to help with this.
“Such green infrastructure can provide a sustainable way to drain land, protect against surface water and sewer flooding, reduce storm overflow discharges, harvest water at the same time as enhancing local biodiversity and amenity.
“We must increase the use of these alternative solutions to improve drainage, particularly in urban areas where systems must cope with both run-off and wastewater.”
The review recommends implementation subject to final decisions on scope, threshold and process once a full regulatory impact assessment has been completed. The assessment will look at different options and the expected costs and benefits.
Defra will carry out a consultation in 2023 to collect views. For information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-drainage-systems-review