SuDs Consultation closes 24th Oct

DEFRA and DCLG issued a consultation on 12th September on a possible approach to implementingSustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). This consultation is the most recent in a protracted process of implementing the recommendations on managing the risk from surface water flooding made by Sir Michael Pitt in his report on the 2007 floods.

Sir Michael Pitt said in his 2008 report: “The main barrier to the incorporation of SUDS in developments is their adoption once they have been designed and constructed”.  The Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) , enacted in 2010, was intended to remove uncertainty over adoption by requiring unitary or county local authorities to approve and adopt SuDS constructed to national standards.

Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA), had it been implemented, required construction work with drainage implications to have its drainage systems for managing surface runoff approved before construction could begin. The FWMA made provision for a SuDS Approving Body (SAB) to be established in unitary or county local authorities (which also have Lead Local Flood Authority responsibilities) to approve and, where appropriate, adopt SuDS.

The FWMA required the Government to publish National Standards on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS, and in order for drainage applications to be approved, the SAB was to ensure that the applicant has designed the SuDS in accordance with the National Standards. Once approved, the SAB was to adopt and maintain properly functioning SuDS that serve more than one property.  The FWMA also made the right to connect surface runoff to public sewers conditional upon the drainage system being approved by the SAB.

Defra announced in June that the Government wouldn’t be implementing Schedule 3 of the FWMA as previously planned.  The present consultation presents a possible way of implementing SuDS through the planning system, dispensing with SABs and mandatory requirements for SuDS. The proposals are passing the initiative for implementing SuDS to developers, so they decide whether SuDS are viable and, if they want SuDS, they also choose the option for adoption.  This appears to be a continuation of the status quo, but as the intention is to only apply the planning policy to major developments, there is a real danger that the new proposals are actually weakening the current planning policy for SuDS.

You can send your views in response to the consultations to   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by Friday 24th October. An example of a response for the River Mersey can be foundhere