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 promoted through policy, there is a general perception that opportunities for their use and evolution are still being missed. The promotion of SuDS at the planning stages of a project is now the responsibility of the relevant Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) which will either be the County Council, or Unitary Authority. It is worth noting that although the LLFA is a statutory consultee on surface water management for new proposals (a role which they took over from the Environment Agency), the guidance that many of them have produced is not policy unless it has been formally adopted as part of the Local Plan.
The lack of prescriptive policy on SuDS is arguably a good thing as it allows for variety and innovation when draining a site. Broad guidance on SuDS components is provided in the new SuDS Manual (C753 which replaced the old C697 document in 2015) along with some useful guidance from LLFAs. Combining the general guidance with an understanding of the nature of water and runoff, specific comments and steers from some of our clients, and peer discussion (at conferences and training courses) we can provide a solution for most situations.
Depending on which stage a site is at, we prepare either outline or detailed surface water management strategies for review by the LLFA. For larger sites the strategies usually form part of a Flood Risk Assessment. On smaller sites a surface water management assessment is usually sufficient.
The abandonment of SuDS Approval Bodies (SABs) as a body which would approve, and then eventually adopt SuDS, means that the question of where the responsibility lies for adoption and maintenance is still not straightforward.
Currently the most common solution to adoption that we see is the use of a private management company (which usually ties landscape maintenance in with SuDS maintenance). However, as water companies become more used to the concept of SuDS we expect to see a slow shift towards the water (and other utility) companies adopting and maintening SuDS.
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.
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