Sustainable Drainage Systems, also known as SuDS, can contribute to sustainable development and improve the places and spaces where we live, work and play by balancing the different opportunities and challenges that influence urban design and the development of communities.

Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) biodiversity (wildlife and plants) and amenity are collectively referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems or SuDS.

SuDS mimic nature and typically manage rainfall close to where it falls. SuDS can be designed to transport (convey) surface water, slow runoff down (attenuate) before it enters watercourses, they provide areas to store water in natural contours and can be used to allow water to soak (infiltrate) into the ground or evaporated from surface water and lost or transpired from vegetation (known as evapotranspiration).

SuDS are drainage systems that are considered to be environmentally beneficial, causing minimal or no long-term detrimental damage. They are often regarded as a sequence of management practices, control structures and strategies designed to efficiently and sustainably drain surface water, while minimising pollution and managing the impact on water quality of local water bodies.

SuDS are more sustainable than traditional drainage methods because they:

  • Manage runoff volumes and flow rates from hard surfaces, reducing the impact of urbanisation on flooding
  • Provide opportunities for using runoff where it falls
  • Protect or enhance water quality (reducing pollution from runoff)
  • Protect natural flow regimes in watercourses
  • Are sympathetic to the environment and the needs of the local community
  • Provide an attractive habitat for wildlife in urban watercourses
  • Provide opportunities for evapotranspiration from vegetation and surface water
  • Encourage natural groundwater/aquifer recharge (where appropriate)
  • Create better places to live, work and play.

For further information please contact Andrew Leadbetter at our Peterborough office.

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