STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION ADVICE
Surface water management
Surface water management
Managing runoff from developments has always been an important part of the development planning process.
The increasing importance
Whilst Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) have always been encouraged and promoted by policy, the Environment Agency (EA) and others, the general opinion is that they have been underused in most recent developments.
The forthcoming introduction of the SuDS Approval Bodies (SABs) will address this by requiring the early design, submission and approval of a development’s surface water management scheme. The proposed scheme will then be assessed by the SAB who will take a view on whether a scheme contains sufficient ‘soft’ drainage elements.
The supporting document which will trigger the formal implementation of the SABs is the “National Standards for Sustainable Drainage”. The consultation on this document ended in March 2012 and we expect the final document to be published (and the SABs to be introduced) in 2014.
As of the 15th April 2015 County or Unitary Authorities in their role as Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA) have become a statutory consultee on surface water management for major developments. The LLFAs will provide advice and guidance to the Local Planning Authority as to the suitability of a surface water management scheme. As well as some limited national guidance on SuDS, the LLFA responses will draw on information within the design and process documents produced and maintained by each LLFA. It is apparent that each LLFA will approach their role differently. We therefore expect some variation in the amount of information required for the different elements of a scheme (design, maintenance and adoption, etc).
Support from promotion to post-permission
We can advise as to what extent the surface water management scheme will influence the masterplan to assist in the early viability and costing appraisals. We can then provide options for managing surface water runoff and develop a strategy to support a proposal through all planning stages up to the discharge of drainage-related planning conditions.
We continue to prepare outline surface water management strategies which accord with national and local planning policies, generally for inclusion in Flood Risk Assessments. We keep up-to-date with the software advances and keep an eye on the emerging guidance and legislation with the aim of delivering a smooth transition for our clients once the SABs come into force.
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