Having been involved in the design of housing developments for the last 16 years, I read your article on sustainable urban drainage systems SuDS (NCE 21 March) with great interest.
It has been my experience that consultants and developers are quite rightly pushed towards SuDS by planners and the Environment Agency from an early stage. Many of the infiltration methods are much more economical than conventional fully piped methods and, as a result, are often welcomed by developers.
However, over the last couple of years, we have frequently been unable to get swales and ponds adopted by some public authorities on the grounds of maintenance costs and public liability.
SuDS is essential to the future development and regeneration of our urban areas and must therefore be embraced by all adopting authorities in a more enthusiastic manner than at present. Having large areas of privately maintained systems is not the answer as long term future maintenance is not as guaranteed as that by a public body funded by the residents' council tax.
The success of SuDS and its innovative methods is dependent on highway and district authorities updating their policies on what systems are deemed to be adoptable. As a profession, we must not allow ourselves to hide behind the lip service that SuDS has received in the past.
Mike Withers, (AM), BDG Design (South), MWithers@bdg-design.co.uk