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Flood Risk and Development

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

What are SuDS?

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are a natural approach to managing drainage in and around properties and other developments.

This video below explains in more detail:

The Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) delegated upper-tier and unitary authorities as Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA) with responsibility for their respective area's Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Worcestershire County Council is the LLFA for Worcestershire.

This role currently relates to ordinary watercourses, surface water and groundwater flooding (fluvial flooding from main tributaries is still currently the responsibility of the Environment Agency).

On 16th April 2015 LLFAs became statutory consultees for surface water drainage on all major developments.

Website: Legislation - The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010 (opens in a new window)

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) fully supports the use of SuDS on major applications. And the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) (amended April 2015) states that "when considering major development…, sustainable drainage systems should be provided unless demonstrated to be inappropriate."

Website: National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (opens in a new window)

Website:  National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) (opens in a new window)

Surface water run-off should be controlled as near to its source as possible through a sustainable drainage approach to surface water management (SuDS).  Ground conditions will need to be confirmed by site investigation and testing.  The Drainage Strategy (DS) for major developments will need to follow the sequential approach of source control-watercourse-sewer.

SuDS guide

Worcestershire County Council have produced a SuDS guide to help developers and planners understand what the LLFA is looking for on development sites. This guide sets out the principles of SuDS and includes detailed information on the requirements of the LLFA when a planning application is submitted.

Download: SuDS guide

Adoption of SuDS

Following the decision from Government on the non-commencement of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 Worcestershire County Council (WCC) did not become a SuDS Approving Body (SAB). WCC's current policy is to not adopt SuDS on new developments. It is therefore recommended that suitable and adequate private arrangements are put in place for the maintenance of all SuDS on the site for the lifetime of all developments.

The LLFA recommends that a planning condition relating to a SuDS management plan is attached to any grant of planning permission for major applications.

Download: An example of how the management plan could look.

Find out more information

Website: Susdrain (opens in a new window)

Website: GOV.uk - Sustainable drainage systems: non-statutory technical standards (opens in a new window)

Website: GOV.uk - Sustainable drainage systems (opens in a new window)