SuDS Are Not Just Bubbles in the Washing Up Bowl - They Could Save Us from Getting Washed Up!

August 12, 2015 7:49 AM
Originally published by East of England Liberal Democrats

Flooded RoadSuDS stands for "Sustainable Drainage Systems" and the intention to establish a mechanism within the local planning process that will reduce flash floods when sudden or prolonged, heavy rainstorms fall onto hard surfaces. It's surprising just how quickly a flood can build up when a sudden storm dumps tons of rainwater onto extensive tarmac or concrete roads or other paved areas.

From now on local Planning Authorities, e.g. Dacorum Borough Council, will need to consult with the Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA), e.g. Hertfordshire County Council, concerning the drainage implications of new developments. The LLFA will develop a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and the district and borough councils will become Flood Risk Management Authorities. They will have a duty to co-operate and seek advice from the LLFA regarding Flood Risk Management in their areas and to carry out any minor or small-scale measures as may be practical to mitigate such risks.

For some time now there has been a requirement for planning permission to be sought for the paving or hardening of the surface of driveways or front gardens (over 5 square metres, i.e. not much!) unless a recognised form of permeable surface is installed or a soakaway onto open land - such as a garden area or a lawn - is provided.

And it could be said that the County Council's policy of only emptying roadside gulleys ("grids") every 18 months is now in conflict with its duty to reduce flood risks. Local County Councillor, Nick Hollinghurst, has said that he will be testing this point with county officers in the autumn.