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Water companies are committed

On behalf of the Environment Agency, and as the acting chairman of the National Sustainable Drainage Systems working group for the last six months, I am very pleased that SUDS is being debated in an open and constructive manner.

However, I want to put the record straight with regard to the role of water companies and to confirm their commitment to and long term support for SUDS.

Four senior people from different water companies are members of the working party and, along with all the members, are committed to developing a workable and robust framework for wider adoption of SUDS techniques.

We recognise that although there are a number of obstacles and issues to overcome, we are confident that by discussing these issues in an open forum such as a working party, solutions will be found to the satisfaction of all parties.

It is inevitable that as we change from 'traditional' to more sustainable means of surface water disposal, we need to overcome many issues.

However, the commitment shown by the group cannot be questioned.

This common goal is probably best demonstrated by the agreed objective of the current draft framework which the group is developing: 'The need for sustainable drainage is not disputed, but SUDS, if not properly designed and maintained, can lead to a number of problems. The purpose of the framework is to provide a set of core standards and agreements between those public organisations with statutory or regulatory responsibilities relating to SUDs, leading to a code of practice.'

If anyone would like to talk to a representative from the working party regarding activity and progress, they should e-mail group secretary Prosper Paul at:

prosper. paul@environmentagency. gov. uk Martin Townsend, Environment Agency, Kings Meadow House, Kings Meadow Road, Reading RG1 8DQ (See also Debate p.22)

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