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Legislation guidance

Design solutions for SUDS
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SUDS legislation is complex and continually evolving, particularly in response to European Union Directives.

Below is the principal planning, design and legislative guidance for Sustainable Drainage Systems:

  • Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS 25)
    This sets out Government policy in England on development and flood risk. The main aim is to ensure that flood risk is taken into account at all stages of the planning process to avoid placing developments in areas of flood risk or exacerbating flood risk elsewhere as a result of development. It identifies that SUDS can deliver improved surface water management and requires that planning authorities should promote SUDS at every level to attenuate run-off and improve water quality and amenity.
  • Future Water
    The Government's wate strategy for England.  
  • Water Framework Directive
    The European Union Water Framework Directive has set a target that all watercourses should achieve ‘good’ status by 2015. Run-off from roads, car parks and similar surfaces is polluted and this ends up in the rivers and streams where it damages eco systems. Treatment of pollution from drainage systems is likely to be a priority for the Environment Agency in achieving the European Union targets.
  • Flood and Water Management Act 2010
    DEFRA's Flood and Water Management Act 2010 hopes to provide better, more comprehensive management of flood risk for people, homes and businesses. It also addresses tackling bad debt in the water industry, improving the affordability of water bills for certain groups and individuals, and the continuity of water supplies to the consumer.
  • Surface Water Management Plan
    This updated (March 2010) guidance document from DEFRA has been developed to inform local authorities on how to approach the development of a surface water management plan particularly in areas of high risk of surface water flooding.
  • Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens
    From 1 October 2008, the Government will introduce changes to the General Permitted Development Order, making the hard surfacing of more than five square metres of domestic front gardens permitted development only where the surface in question is rendered permeable.
  • The Building Regulations
    SUDS systems fall under the remit of The Building Regulations’ Approved Document H:
    ‘Drainage and waste disposal’ for England and Wales and Part M ‘Drainage and sanitary facilities’ for Scotland. Compliance with the Building Regulations will be required to achieve planning consent, local authority approval and sign off for most SUDS projects.

Approved Document H specifies a hierarchy for the provision of run-off as follows:

1. Infiltration into the ground

2. To water courses (if 1 is not possible)

3. To a surface water sewer (if 1 or 2 are not possible)

  • CIRIA Report C 697
    The SUDS manual provides best practice guidance on all aspects of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of SUDS. In particular, it places emphasis on the use of source control techniques and requires SUDS designers to consider pollution removal and amenity aspects as well as a more comprehensive assessment of attenuation than has been required previously.
  • CIRIA Report C 698
    This handbook provides guidance on the construction of SUDS and is aimed at site engineers and SUDS practitioners. The aim of the document is to help the planning and implementation of SUDS to help the successful construction of SUDS.
  • Pollution Prevention Guideline No.3
    This document provides guidance on the performance requirements for oil separators and where they should be used. It also suggests that separators may not be required if SUDS are used. It does recommend that the SUDS approach to drainage is used in all sites to minimise the impact on the environment and encourages the use of source control techniques to control pollution close to its source.


For further information or design and legislation support on our SUDS offering please call 01335 372222.

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