Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), as part of new developments, seek to mimic the natural drainage pattern and systems across the landscape, and can be used to manage flood risks, improve water quality and enhance biodiversity, the landscape and visual amenity. Recent legislation and draft guidance aims to improve the use and effectiveness of SuDS in new developments.
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 requires the formation of SuDS Approving Bodies (SABs) within lead local flood authorities (county and unitary authorities). SABs will become responsible for approving all surface water management systems in new developments to the new national standards before taking responsibility for their long term operation and maintenance. The National Planning Policy Framework also encourages use of SuDS in development.
While the national standards are still awaited, a new draft British Standard BS 8582 Code of Practice for Surface Water Management for Development Sites, has been drafted for consultation over the autumn. The draft BS aims to support planners, designers and SABs in planning, designing, and implementing surface water management systems in new development that minimise and mitigate flooding and other environmental risks, and maximise the safety, environmental and sustainability benefits for the site and local area.
Nicholas Pearson Associates staff recently reviewed the draft BS on behalf of the Landscape Institute, and identified a need for the draft BS to recognize the potential for SuDS to reflect and contribute positively to the landscape and biodiversity. We also identified the critical role of landscape/townscape appraisal early in the SuDS and flood alleviation design process and their contribution in making proposals fit successfully with the distinctive qualities of a place and its local setting. Our work on the Boscastle flood alleviation project http://www.landscapeinstitute.org/casestudies/casestudy provides a high profile example of this approach being followed in practice.
NPA welcomes the development of this new draft code of practice, and the opportunity to help improve the standard. Our team of landscape architects, ecologists and environmental planners has considerable experience of working with other professionals to develop design concepts and details for a variety of sustainable drainage features and elements – see https://npaconsult.co.uk/services-landscapearchitecture-drainage. We will continue to review the emerging guidance and standards. Please contact us for further information.