The House of Commons environment select committee has slammed the government’s approach to sustainable drainage (SuDS), saying weak policies fail to protect communities from flooding.
In its Post-legislative scrutiny: Flood and Water Management Act 2010 report the committee highlights a “fragmented, inefficient and ineffective” approach to flood prevention and calls on the next government to address the issue, with measures such as making SuDS construction standards statutory.
It claims that if up to 1M new homes are to be built by 2020 without increasing flooding, strong planning policies are needed to promote more and better quality natural drainage schemes.
“The Government purports to support SuDS but has not commenced provisions to set up a robust policy framework to promote their use,” said environment committee chair Neil Parish.
“Instead it has adopted sub-standard planning policies which have led to far too few schemes, many of which are of low quality, being installed in new developments.”
The committee argues that improvements in SuDS schemes must be delivered by the end of 2018 to combat the problem.
“We urge our successor committee to consider calling for the full commencement of SuDS provisions in the 2010 Act if this [2018 deadline] is not achieved,” added Parish.
Planning rules must ensure all new residential developments have good quality SuDS schemes and that there is no room for developers to opt out, according to the report. Measures already included in the Act should also be used to transfer financial responsibility of private sewers to water and sewerage companies, to avoid unfair operation costs.