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Planning sustainable drainage systems for new developments

All major developments are required to incorporate sustainable drainage techniques to manage surface water runoff.

About sustainable drainage systems

Sustainable drainage systems are designed to mimic the natural drainage of surface water. They collect rain water, slow it down and release it at a controlled rate.

Examples of sustainable drainage systems include:

  • green roofs 
  • infiltration basins and trenches 
  • permeable pavements 
  • rainwater harvesting system 
  • soakaways 
  • filter drains 
  • swales 
  • filter strips 
  • detention basins 
  • retention ponds 
  • wetlands

Sustainable drainage systems can help to:

  • manage flood risk 
  • improve water quality 
  • improve biodiversity through the creation of new habitats 
  • provide amenity and green open spaces 
  • maintain and improve groundwater recharge through infiltration

What to do

We advise you to take pre-application advice in the early stages of planning. We will assess surface water management proposals for all major planning applications. This will help you to identify all design requirements, issues and opportunities. This will also help to avoid any delays later in the planning stages.

As a developer, you must:

  • have clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance for the lifetime of the development
  • demonstrate how you plan to manage surface water as part of the site-specific flood risk assessment
  • make sure the proposed drainage system will reduce flood risk to the site and elsewhere, taking climate change into account

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