Managing Flood Risk - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents

5  Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs)

46.  Councils are already working with developers to introduce Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs) to reduce flood risk. The LGA noted that more than 40% of newly built properties have connections to SUDs.[98] However, key provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act which require new developments of two or more properties to adopt SUDs are yet to be commenced, some three years after enactment. These measures would make the right to connect surface water to the public sewer conditional on the drainage system being approved by a SUDs Approving Body. Sewerage undertakers, the EA, IDBs, British Waterways and Highway Authorities are to be statutory consultees to the Approving Body.[99]

47.  We expressed dismay in our report on the Draft Water Bill published in February 2013 that implementation of the SUDs regulations had been put back until April 2014. Witnesses to this inquiry were also disappointed at the lack of action to implement these measures. The LGA noted that councils were "frustrated by the delays" since the publication of national standards and establishment of SUDs Approving Bodies would provide "certainty for developers and councils in the design and approval of suitable schemes".[100] The Secretary of State gave assurances that the Water Bill would include measures to encourage water companies to use SUDs.[101] After we finished taking evidence, on 27 June, the Government introduced a Water Bill. This includes measures aimed at encouraging the use of SUDs by sewerage undertakers which we will wish to examine. However, we remain concerned that existing primary legislation on SUDs remains to be commenced.

48.  Three years after enactment of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, its provisions on sustainable drainage have yet to be implemented. We have previously criticised the Government for failure to reach agreement with key parties, such as local authorities, on how implementation is to be funded and managed, yet Defra is unable to commit to commencement before April 2014. Sustainable drainage is a key aspect of managing flood risk and it is vital that the measures are implemented without further delay.

49.  We were not able to examine in this inquiry wider issues on SUDs such as the potential for such systems to minimise water run-off from roads. There is a need for Highways Authorities and local councils to take more action to prevent surface water from highways overwhelming the capacity of combined sewers and flooding homes and businesses. Defra must liaise with the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government on measures to encourage local authorities and Highways Authorities to install sustainable drainage measures which will improve the management of water run-off from roads.

98   Ev 100 Back

99   British Waterways became the Canal and River Trust in July 2012 Back

100   As above Back

101   Q 353 Back

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Prepared 4 July 2013