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Call to scrap sewer connection rights

The water industry last week welcomed government proposals to remove the right to connect surface water drainage systems from new developments to stormwater sewers.

The government also plans to remove the right to lay impermeable surfaces.

The proposals were first discussed in December's interim report from the Pitt Review of last summer's floods. These were caused by surface water runoff overwhelming drainage systems.

If adopted, the proposals could trigger an increase in the implementation of sustainable drainage schemes (SUDS).

SUDS retain or soak up rainwater which has fallen onto hard surfaces such as roofs or paved areas, so less rainwater enters the sewerage network.

"We agree that the automatic right to connect should be stopped," said Water UK chief executive Pamela Taylor, speaking at a House of Commons select committee meeting last week.

"Planners should [be made to] consider SUDS."

There are concerns that the move to block developers' automatic right to connect to the drainage system would lead to a backlog in planning applications .

"We don't want the planning system clogged. We strongly urge performance requirements in building regulations rather than backlogging the planning system for each case of paving," said Royal Town Planning Institute head of policy and practice Rynd Smith.

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