Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) have been evolving for at least two decades as a science. Meanwhile, over the last 4-5 years the development of government policy into a set of workable strategies and standards seems to be repeatedly hitting the buffers.
One key sticking point is a belief, upheld by many SuDS protagonists, that the preferred and most effective approach to managing surface water and to reduce flood risk is to provide a vegetated SuDS solution and to keep all runoff at the visible surface.
The use of engineered proprietary products or “grey infrastructure” typically means units buried underground. This is seen as a second-rate solution by some “purists” who would not even recognise these products as SuDS components.
This view ignores the ability of proprietary products to beneficially impact water quantity and quality, possibly to a higher degree of consistency than vegetated SuDS. It also ignores the fact that the performance of such products can be accurately validated.
Developers will no doubt seek the lowest cost solution that will be the easiest to implement. Underground proprietary SuDS systems free valuable land space and can help increase (or at least preserve) the developable area of a site compared with vegetated-only SuDS solutions.
Terms and definitions may be seen as a nuance, but the vocabulary used is vital if a comprehensive toolbox of ALL the SuDS solutions is made available to the developer so that the standard can be met using any suitable combination of vegetated SuDS and proprietary SuDS.
For more information on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems follow the link or give the CPSA a call.