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GROUNDWORKS 55


SUDS IS NOT MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN


Brian Wilson of Tobermore explores how the changing climate is urgently increasing the need for sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS).


their water consumption. C


Flooding in summer and winter is now a feature of our changing climate. 2018 saw unprecedented levels of rainfall, which brought devastating flooding to areas of the UK, destroying homes, belongings and livelihoods. Last year’s floods, and those in preceding


years, have many causes, and it would be wrong to lay the blame on one single reason. However, there is no doubt that the laying of impermeable ground surfaces such as concrete and tarmac has reduced permeability, and rainwater has had nowhere to infiltrate to. The


limate change is the talk of the moment, with consumers being encouraged to reduce and monitor


British drainage and sewer system is at its maximum capacity in many areas, particularly in the regions where the highest level of flooding has been experienced. Worryingly, recent research shows that extreme flooding may become more frequent in the UK due to climate change, with almost five times more heavy rainfall events predicted to exceed 28 mm in one hour in the future than currently. With the continuing unpredictability of our weather all year round, permeable paving is now a necessity.


In the UK there is a growing acceptance that a more sustainable approach is needed to manage rainfall and flooding. If flood water is effectively managed, it can be


recycled and used when needed. Through a sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS), storm water can be absorbed by permeable paving through enlarged joints, which are filled with grit instead of the sand used in conventional paving, and stored in a special sub base beneath the paving. This acts like a huge tank, and the aggregate that is used for the sub base filters out most of the pollution that may have been washed off the roads and roofs.


JUSTIFICATION Of course, the question of cost always raises its head when considering SuDS solutions. There is a general consensus that permeable paving is an expensive solution.


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