Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) will be compulsory for new developments within two years.

An example of a sustainable urban drainage system
An example of a sustainable urban drainage system

The new requirement is outlined in the Government’s Draft Flooding and Water Management Bill, which has recently been published for consultation.

National standards will come into force in 2011 to ensure that new developments and redevelopments include sustainable drainage that reduces flood damage and improves water quality. The Bill also suggests amendments to section 106 of the Water Industry Act 1991 to make the right to connect surface water run-off to public sewers conditional on meeting the new standards.

Unitary or county local authorities will enforce the standards as the designated SuDS approving body (SAB) and will have responsibility for adopting and maintaining SuDS. The Bill also suggests that local authorities should be able to create designated Run-Off Reduction Zones in which they can introduce restrictions on land management practices for particular portions of land.

The Draft Bill is a response to the 92 recommendations made in Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the floods in Summer 2007. It also proposes giving the Environment Agency a strategic overview role for all flood and coastal erosion risk management. In this new capacity, it will be a statutory consultee on planning applications that have any flood (and, possibly in future, coastal erosion) implications.

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