Currently, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting on proposals to implement requirements for sustainable drainage systems (“SuDS”) in new and redeveloped sites in England.
By reducing the rate and volume of surface runoff from developments, SuDS are recognised as devices to alleviate local flood risk, mitigate pollution and reduce extra load on public sewers.
Given the increasing flood risk in particular areas, the proposals should be of interest to developers, investors and insurers with the proposed changes to take place from 1 October 2012.
The proposals stem from the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which requires construction work with drainage implications to have drainage systems for managing surface runoff including rainwater, snow and other precipitation approved before construction may begin.
A SuDS Approving Body (“SAB”) will be established to approve and adopt SuDS with “Construction work” defined as “the creation of buildings or structures that cover land and which will affect the ability of the land to absorb rainwater”.
The Act requires National Standards on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS. The SAB must ensure that the SuDS have been designed in accordance with the National Standards but once approved the SAB must adopt and maintain those SuDS which function properly and serve more than one property.
Importantly, the Act amends existing law so that the right to connect surface runoff to public sewers is conditional upon the drainage system being approved by the SAB. The Welsh Government will be consulting separately about similar implementation of the Act in Wales.
The consultation, which expires on 13 March 2012, is seeking your views on the National Standards and draft statutory instruments including those for the approval and adoption of SuDS and appeals. Defra has, also, announced that it is developing guidance to support the National Standards which is expected in draft form in April 2012.
For further information including copies of the consultation documents, see http://bit.ly/ss2MMq