I am pleased to advise that we have finally had confirmation from the Secretary of State at Defra that the 6th April date for the introduction of SuDS Adoption has been postponed. Therefore house builders can continue with business as usual, and approval of SuDS schemes will not be required from SuDS Adopting Bodies (SABs), until a new date is set.
The adoption of SuDS by local authority SABs was first set out in the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA). Defra had set a date of 6th April 2014 for the new system to go live.
However it became clear to us many months ago that there was very little hope of everything being ready for the April deadline. The Standards and Guidance, which are essential for house builders to be able to design SAB-compliant SuDS, were not going to be ready. Most of the 152 new local authority SABs were clearly not going to be ready to process house builders’ SuDS applications by April. Access across third-party land, affecting about a quarter of sites, was nowhere near resolution. And so on.
HBF used high-level contacts within Government to ensure all these issues were properly addressed by Defra, and in particular that our concerns about the 6th April deadline were addressed. The big potential problem for home builders was that SAB approval for a SuDS would be a requirement before work could start on site, subject to various transitional arrangements. Treasury and No.10 were understandably very concerned at the prospect of site start delays.
Despite recognition by Defra officials that the 6th April was unachievable, we have until now had no formal confirmation that the deadline had been postponed. Therefore Stewart Baseley wrote to the Secretary of State at Defra on 7th March setting out our concerns and requesting public confirmation that the 6th April deadline had been postponed. We have now had a reply from the SoS.
We suggested to the SoS that rather than set a new date immediately, it might be better to ensure everything was in place before announcing a new date. He has accepted this suggestion, though it is perhaps worth noting that officials are informally working towards an October deadline. So until we hear the new date, it is business as usual for home builders. SAB approval for SuDS will not be required from 6th April until a new date is set.
HBF will continue to work closely with Defra officials and we will keep you posted as important new information emerges.
John Stewart Director of Economic Affairs
Home Builders Federation
London, SE1 9PL
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