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Survey shows Scotland leads on Suds installation

Drainage experts in Scotland believe that legislation has been key to the successful introduction of sustainable drainage systems (Suds) there compared with England and Wales, according to a survey published last week.

But the survey also found that further progress is being hindered by a reluctance to adopt and maintain Suds features.

The Suds in Scotland – Experience and Opportunity survey was conducted for Engineering Nature’s Way, a knowledge-sharing website for the SuDS industry.

It was carried out by sustainable drainage specialist Hydro International, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and water supply chain trade body British Water.

The survey sought to gauge how successful Scotland has been in delivering SuDS and to identify barriers to further progress.

It also looked for lessons that could be useful in England and Wales ahead of the introduction of national standards for Suds in 2014.

A total of 151 SuDS practitioners took part in the survey, including consulting engineers, developers, environmental agencies and water companies.

An overwhelming 96.8% of respondents said they thought Scotland had successfully implemented Suds since the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act came into force in 2003. But only 2.4% believed
it had been completely successful.

A high proportion of respondents (84.7%) said legislation had helped Scotland make more effective progress than England and Wales.

Many respondents expressed frustration that authorities have been slow to adopt Suds systems, regarding this as a significant barrier to progress.

Most believed that regulation and guidance is not clear enough for maintenance and adoption, and said there was inadequate funding for this.

Only about half (48%) of respondents were satisfied that current regulation and guidance gives practitioners freedom to specify from a full toolbox of “natural” and manufactured/proprietary Suds features.

Responding to the survey results, Hydro International UK stormwater division director and British Water sustainable water management focus group chair Alex Stephenson, said: “While Scotland has led the way in implementing Suds, there are some important lessons to be learned.

“In particular, there are considerable frustrations in the number of SuDS features being adopted and maintained effectively
in Scotland, and this has implications on both sides of the border.

“The need for robust costing and predictability in the maintenance requirements of SuDS needs to be addressed,” he added. “This, in turn, can provide confidence for the adopting bodies.”

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