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Member Briefing: Government announces new arrangements for sustainable drainage for new homes following HBF representations

Date: 18/12/14

Member Briefing: Government announces new arrangements for sustainable drainage for new homes following HBF representations

In a ministerial statement published this afternoon, the Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, has confirmed more details relating to the proposed implementation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for new residential developments. Alongside the Written Ministerial Statement, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government, have published the Government’s response to the consultation on Delivering Sustainable Drainage Systems which ran throughout September and October.

The Secretary of State announced that a new implementation date of 6th April 2015 will apply and stated that the new arrangements will now not apply to developments of less than 10 homes.

Implementation had previously been planned for April 2014 but postponed following warnings from the HBF that the required ‘SuDS Approving Bodies’ (SABs) were not likely to be in place in time which could compromise future development. Then without confidence that SABs would be established in time, the revised implementation date of October 2014 was put back again following HBF’s representations at the highest levels of government

The Government has noted the concerns expressed by HBF regarding possible delays in securing approval caused by inconsistent sources of advice and now favours the option of consolidating approval arrangements within the planning application process making SuDS a material consideration on major developments (defined by DCLG as 10 homes or more) and by establishing Lead Local Flood Authorities as statutory consultees on surface water management. A consultation on changing statutory consultee arrangements has also been published today and will run until 29th January 2015. To prevent ‘over-consultation’ and help focus resources, Lead Local Flood Authorities will be able to inform the planning authority of certain instances in which it does not wish to be consulted.

The Government also intends to publish revised planning guidance and engage with local authorities on building the necessary capacity to ensure that the new arrangements are workable. HBF will continue to monitor the progress and flag any concerns in advance of the implementation date.

HBF will also work with ministers and officials to help develop ‘one clear set of National Standards’ and supportive technical guidance based on the existing work which has gone into the original government standards.

We will work closely with DCLG and DEFRA to finalise all the details required for the proposed 6th April implementation and ensure the relevant transition arrangements are in place.

It should be noted that the current requirement that all developments in areas at risk of flooding should give priority to the use of SuDS will continue to apply.

Further reading

  • To read the full Written Ministerial Statement click here
  • The Government’s full response to the original consultation on Sustainable Drainage Systems can be read here. HBF’s submission to that consultation is available here
  • The consultation paper published today on statutory consultee arrangements for planning applications can be found here


David O’Leary

Deputy Director of External Affairs