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Council Services:

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)

The independent review into the causes of the 2007 floods (The Pitt Review) concluded sustainable drainage systems (commonly known as SuDS) were an effective way to reduce the risk of ‘flash-flooding’ which occurs when rainwater rapidly flows into the public sewerage and drainage system, causing overloading and back-up of water to the surface.

The SuDS approach is about slowing down and reducing the quantity of surface water runoff to manage flood risk and reducing the risk of that runoff causing pollution. This is achieved by infiltrating, slowing, storing and treating runoff on site and, where possible, on the surface rather than underground. Water then becomes a much more visible and tangible part of a development that can be enjoyed by those who live and work there or choose to visit.

On the 18 December 2014 a written statement by the House of Commons was made explaining how the existing planning system would be changed to secure sustainable drainage systems. These changes came into effect on 06 April 2015.

To this effect, local planning authorities (of which there are 7 in Lincolnshire) are expected to ensure that sustainable drainage systems, for the management of runoff, are put in place on planning applications relating to major development, unless demonstrated to be inappropriate.

Under these arrangements, local planning authorities should consult the relevant Lead Local Flood Authority on the management of surface water. Therefore, Lincolnshire County Council as Lead Local Flood Authority is now a statutory consultee on planning applications for major developments with surface water drainage. Further information and guidance can be obtained from the relevant District Council.

Benefits of SuDS include:

  • protecting people and property from increased flood risk
  • protecting the water quality of groundwater and surface waters from polluted runoff
  • protecting natural flow regimes (and thus the ecology) in our rivers, lakes and streams
  • supporting local natural habitats and associated ecosystems by encouraging greater biodiversity and connecting habitats together
  • improving soil moisture and replenishing depleted groundwater levels
  • providing society with a valuable supply of water
  • creating attractive places where people want to live, work and play through the integration of water and green spaces with the built environment
  • improving people’s understanding of how runoff from their development is being managed and used, and the benefits of more sustainable approaches
  • supporting the creation of developments that are more likely able to cope with changes in climate in the future
  • delivering cost-effective infrastructure that uses fewer natural resources and has smaller carbon footprint than conventional drainage.


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Last updated: 20 May 2015

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