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Delays dog sustainable drainage standards

Publication of national standards for sustainable drainage systems (Suds) has been delayed, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed.

Suds project

Publication of national standards for sustainable drainage systems (Suds) has been delayed, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed.

Including Suds in all new housing developments was a key recommendation of the Pitt Review carried out after the 2007 floods.

The government appeared to be following this through when it published draft national Suds standards for consultation at the end of 2011.

Consultation on the draft closed in March 2012, but full standards have not yet been published.

In January 2013, Defra indicated that the earliest likely date for publication was April 2014, but this week the department confirmed this was not going to happen, and said it had no new date for publication.

The delay is thought to be partly due to the continuing reluctance of housebuilders to incorporate surface drainage features into new housing schemes because they take up valuable land. There has also been a lack of agreement about who should pay for them to be maintained, but a statement from Defra this week has suggested that this responsibility will fall on local authorities.

The statement said that the department would be “consulting soon” on how Suds will be maintained by local authorities. It added: “Reducing the impacts of flooding on houses and businesses is a key priority for us, and we are committed to introducing sustainable drainage systems to help reduce the risk of floods from new developments.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • The principle of Suds is clearly established, the NPPF requires implementation to reduce overall flood risk and non of this is rocket science.
    The ex County Emergency Planning Officer of Oxfordshire has suggested that householders should have recourse to law against incompetent developers and planning authorities in this respect.
    Insurers should be also be indemnified in case of incompetent design.
    The cost must fall on the developers to ensure responsible development.

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  • "The delay is thought to be partly due to the continuing reluctance of housebuilders to incorporate surface drainage features into new housing schemes because they take up valuable land."

    This is a bit much isn't it? Land is valuable for the developer, but think of the poor occupier that then gets flooded/has a crummpy service because the ethos of the development was about a quick buck rather than the provision of a product of a suitable standard (Including drainage!) for the long term.

    I'm not saying all developers are like this, but I can't believe these standards can be seemingly held to randsom by commercial interests, when they should primarily about preventing and lessening the effects of development on flooding issues that are currently very prominently making themselves known (With associated greater cost overall). Certainly left a sour taste in the mouth.

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