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Briefings

HBF Member Briefing: DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE DRAINAGE SYSTEMS (SuDS)

Date: 12/09/14

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE DRAINAGE SYSTEMS (SuDS)

In an announcement today (12 September 2014) Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, launched a consultation on options to use the existing planning system to  deliver effective and well-maintained sustainable drainage systems. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/September%202014/12%20September/5-DEFRA-Drainage.pdf 

The consultation sets out an alternative approach to the one envisaged in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 which would have relied on establishing an entirely separate consenting regime from that of the existing planning system. The proposals suggest using the planning process to agree drainage schemes and offers developers a choice of potential maintenance options allowing both choice and competition in the adoption of the schemes.

An annex to the consultation sets out the draft national standards and specified criteria for sustainable drainage schemes against which proposed SuDS will be assessed. 

Subject to the outcome of the consultation the proposed changes to the planning system would come into force in Spring 2015.

The full consultation paper can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sustainable-drainage-systems-changes-to-the-planning-system

HBF Comment

HBF has worked hard with Government over the last year and is pleased with the proposed new approach to the approval and adoption of surface water drainage (SuDS) on housing developments. It represents a more sensible way to implement the recommendations of the 2008 Pitt Review. It should be noted that house builders have been required to design sustainable surface water drainage schemes for housing sites since 2006.

The Government’s previous proposal, which would have required the creation of 152 new public sector SuDS approving bodies (SABs), and which would have created a new set of bureaucratic hurdles for house builders, risked holding back the current strong recovery in home building. Integrating SuDS approval within the existing planning system is a more pragmatic approach,( though not, of course, without possible problems of its own).

House builders will also welcome the idea of being able to choose from a range of possible SuDS adopters. If house builders can select the most appropriate body for each site, this will put commercial pressure on adoption bodies to offer an efficient and cost-effective service for home builders and home owners.

HBF will be liaising with members and responding accordingly.