HBF statement in response to BBC reporting on SuDS drainage systems.
“Any suggestion that house builders concerns over costs are delaying drainage system installation is a total misrepresentation and strongly refuted by HBF.
“House builders have been installing SuDS for almost a decade and providing the drainage systems to mitigate flood risk as required by Government and specified by Local Authorities and the environment agencies. Whilst above ground solutions could be more costly than below ground ones, house builders install the systems specified and agreed by Local Authorities.
“House builders’ primary current concern on this issue relates to the process for taking responsibility for long term maintenance – adoption – of a drainage system. The hugely concerning area for SuDS is that from April, maintenance responsibility for them transfers to ‘SuDS Approval Bodies’ (SABs) that should have been established by Local Authorities. Currently very few of these SABs are actually ready or in a position to serve their purpose and without approval house builders will be prevented from starting work on new housing sites and providing much needed new housing. House builders – and Local Authorities- have thus suggested a delay in implementing the new long term maintenance (adoption) arrangements to give councils time to fully assume their responsibilities and ensure that a lack of local authority resource does not prevent work on new house building sites getting underway. In the meantime house builders will continue to install the specified systems and push Government and Local Authorities to establish the adoption process required by legislation as quickly as possible.
“After all the work we have done with Government, HBF is disappointed about the delay to setting up the processes for the adoption of SuDS. Above all else house builders are seeking certainty over the systems they will be required to install and the processes for having them approved by the 152 local authority adopting bodies. We will continue to work with councils’ representatives and the government to bring the new processes into place as soon as possible.
“Very few new homes are built on flood plains. Those that are have to meet extremely stringent mitigation requirements. Ultimately Local Authorities are responsible for where housing development takes place in their areas – and for agreeing the drainage systems required.”