LONG AWAITED guidance on the adoption of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) is expected in July, nine months later than originally promised, the Environment Agency confirmed this week.
Publication of the code of practice will at last enable engineers and developers to conform with the government's planning policy guidance and use SuDS in all new housing developments.
Drainage design engineers greeted the news with relief this week but cautioned that the guide was only a stepping stone to vital legislation to underpin the adoption of SuDS by local authorities.
'We have waited long enough for this guidance, ' said Aiden Millerick, managing director of drainage software company Microdrainage. 'Primary legislation is needed urgently as there's not going to be voluntary agreement [between the parties].'
SuDS allow rainwater to seep slowly into the ground rather than being directed into main sewers, which are increasingly overwhelmed during periods of intense rainfall. The new planning policy PPG25 demands that all new homes are equipped with SuDS.
However, their use has been limited by wrangling between local authorities and water companies over who is responsible for looking after them once installed (NCE 18 March).
The guidance is intended to give clear direction on the adoption of the infrastructure by local authorities. It is being prepared by a multi-party working group for the Environment Agency and was due for publication last November.
The House Builders Federation agreed that legislation would be needed to provide full clarity to adoption but said the new document remained essential to provide clear guidance on working relationships between the various parties involved.
A spokesman said the Federation has warned that the dispute over who should bear responsibility for SuDS had delayed introduction of the policy.