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Industry News & Views Alex Stephenson,

Alex has over 36 years experience in stormwater drainage design and related issues.

As well as being the UK Stormwater Director with Hydro International he is also Chairman of the British Water SuDS focus group. He is ideally situated to keep you up to date with the industry changes and legislation.

After the Floods – No more SuDS Delays

GOVERNMENT delays, inertia and uncertainty must not be allowed to undermine vital progress to tackle surface water flooding in England and Wales.

Regulation that will make Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) compulsory for new developments has been delayed by Defra following widespread calls to improve on the proposed National Standards by which they will be judged.

We have been experiencing unprecedented flooding reminiscent of summer 2007 which prompted far- reaching proposals for reform. Yet, as the rains came down once again, there were still no workable plans for SuDS in place,

We welcomed the strong comments made by MPs on the parliamentary Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee in their report on the Water White Paper (published 5 July). The committee made it clear further delays were unacceptable and said they remained unconvinced that Defra’s work to improve surface water management has been carried out with sufficient urgency.

The 2007 floods prompted the Pitt Review whose recommendations were embodied in the Flood and Water Management Act.

As part of the Act, Local Authority

SuDS Approving Bodies (SABS) were due to begin work assessing SuDS schemes on new developments from October 2012. A consultation on the proposed National Standards for SuDS, ended in March. However, Defra has deferred the date for SABs to begin their roles, giving assurances only that they will get at least six months notice before commencement.

There are strong indications that both local government and industry believe the standards, as they currently stand, are not yet fit for purpose and responses to the consultation cried out with one voice for more clarity,

More flooding this summer only goes to emphasise the urgency of the situation and the importance of getting things right from the outset.

implementation we risk patchy and inconsistent implementation of SuDS across England and Wales,.

The devil is definitely in the detail – but no-one is sure what the detail is. The Government has promised detailed Guidelines to accompany the National Standards. There’s little doubt that the Standards in their current form are insufficient without them. Many agree the guidelines would need to have been written, scrutinised and agreed by industry before the new SuDS approval system begins.

To be effective, the guidance also needs to be binding, not just advisory.

The EFRA committee also made it clear that Defra should do more to encourage retrofitting of SuDS. Stephenson added: “The current proposals are only the tip of the iceberg in tackling surface water flooding as they only apply to new development,” adds Stephenson. How much more flooding will it take to prompt the urgent action we need to protect our homes and properties?

Contact Alex by:

email: Telephone: 01275 878371

Mike Humphrey Glevum Agricultural

Nick Elbourne River Restration Centre

Ray Moulds IBS Engineering

Richard Edwards Salix River & Wetland Services

Even following

Damian McGettrick WM Plant Hire

David Holland Salix River & Wetland Services

David Poole Hy-Tex

Derrick Simpkin Environmental Technologies

John Alexander Revetment UK

Lucy Ogden Bedford Pumps

Mike Cooper AGA Group

Editorial Contributors

Adrian Lloyd Jones Welsh Beaver Project, c/o North Wales Wildlife Trust

Alan Henshaw Environment Agency

Alex Stephenson Hydro-International

Amy Capon Environment Agency

Andy Hirst EDS Ltd

Antonia Scarr Environment Agency / RESTORE

Cheryl Chan Black & Veatch

Chris Pett Mastenbroeks

Chris Skulski ADC (East Anglia) Ltd


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