Following a series of consultations on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 comes into force in Wales this new year.
From January 7th 2019, all proposed new developments with 1 house or more in Wales are required to include SuDS and must comply with the Welsh Ministers’ Standards and then signed off by the SuDS Approving Body (SAB).

The current voluntary standards will become mandatory at the same time. So, what are the core principles that Developers will need to follow when the legislation comes into force?

  • Water to be managed on, or as close to, the surface and source of the runoff as possible.
  • Ensure pollution is prevented at source, not rely on the drainage system to treat it.
  • Protect people from increased flood risk and the environment from ecological changes in flow rates, patterns and sediment movement caused by the development.
  • Use a Management Train in series across a site rather than a single “end of pipe” feature, such as a pond, to serve the whole development.
  • SuDS should perform safely, reliably and effectively over the design life of the development. They must consider the need for reasonable levels of maintenance.
  • Avoid the need for pumping where possible
  • Be affordable, considering both construction and long-term maintenance costs and the additional environmental and social benefits afforded by the system.

Key outcomes of implementing Schedule 3

  • Statutory National Standards on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS schemes will be published by the Welsh Government.
  • SABs will ensure that all SuDS schemes must meet the National Standards to be approved.
  • SABs will adopt and maintain all approved SuDS schemes.
  • Construction work with impact on drainage will not start before SuDS approval.
  • Engineers and architects working together even more closely as developable space is squeezed and traditional site layouts affected. Early SuDS consultation is also vital to determine the viability of development programmes and costs.

GreenBlue Urban are proud to have been involved in one of the flagship schemes that will continue to be used as a gold standard example for SUDs in Wales as public and private sector organisations will need to be ready for the legislative changes.  Greener Grangetown is now complete.

The following benefits have been delivered:

  • 42,480m² of surface water being removed from the combined waste water network (the equivalent of 10 football pitches).
  • An additional 1,600m² of green space (the equivalent of 4 basketball courts).
  • The creation of Wales’ first ever ‘bicycle street’ along one of the busiest sections of the Taff Trail Active Travel route, slowing traffic by design and improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Increased biodiversity – 135 new trees and thousands of shrubs and grasses planted.
  • Creation of a community orchard.
  • 26 new cycle stands.
  • 12 new litter bins.
  • 9 new seats and benches.
  • Increased resident-only parking spaces.

So, what is the key to working with this new legislation for developers and experts across the industry?

  1. Complete a preliminary sustainable drainage strategy as part of the engineering constraints plan, to enable the requirements to be considered within a site layout from the outset. Consider the ways in which amenity, quality of water, quantity and biodiversity net gain can be captured as part of the initial design phase. This is the tie to think component choice.
  2. Ensure close and early liaison with the SuDS Approval Body.
  3. Establish early and ongoing working relationship between the master planning architect, landscape designer and the engineer, to ensure the most appropriate SuDS features can be effectively incorporated into a successful site layout.
  4.  Carry out infiltration testing on the site to highlight efficient drainage areas, which will reduce SuDS land-take elsewhere on the site.
  5. Complete a final pre-planning meeting with the SuDS Approval Body, to present and agree the strategy in advance of formal submission to avoid post-planning modification.

GreenBlue Urban will work across Wales with the public and private sectors to provide expertise and specialist installation support to those who wish to ensure that their new SUDs schemes include multifunctional space saving SUDs tree pit components. This should facilitate economically viable schemes, marrying the green infrastructure residents crave and the SUDs targets that will no longer be an optional extra.

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