Bournemouth Lower Gardens in flood last year

Developers, does the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 mean anything to you? Well perhaps it should, at least if you are planning to develop in England or Wales over the next few years. Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010  requires the inclusion of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) as part of any development.

In short the Act removes the automatic right to connect to the public sewer then sets up a whole new approval regime for drainage systems. SuDS Approving Bodies (a “SAB”) are created being the relevant Local Authority at either unitary or county level. Developers will then need to seek approval for the drainage proposals of any development proposal from the SAB who will determine applications in accordance with National Standards. Finally SABs will have to adopt sustainable drainage systems where they accord with the National Standards the exception being where the system only serves one property. And what kind of development will need to get approval? Any building or structure (which includes any hard surface) which requires planning permission and affects the ability of land to absorb rainwater.

Slightly alarmed by the potential cost implications of all this? Well here is the good news, DEFRA have recently confirmed that the new measures will NOT now be brought into force in October this year as originally planned. Instead they will carry on working up proposals for implementation…meanwhile the rain just keeps on falling.