The winter of 2013-2014 was the UK’s wettest on record with more than 7800 homes and nearly 3000 commercial properties flooded, according to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). However, in late May, the agency announced in an email the delay of Schedule 3 of the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation beyond its October deadline. The email did not provide an indication of an updated timetable, but did say “the government remains committed to implementing SuDS at the earliest available opportunity, but not in a way that affects development.”
Schedule 3 is part of the Flood and Water Management Act of 2010, which requires planning authorities to establish SuDS approval bodies to ensure that new building schemes include SuDS. Initially scheduled for April 2013, the SuDS legislation was delayed until fall 2014 but has now been delayed again. More details related to the implementation schedule are expected this summer.
The delays also may affect long-term management, and some communities remain opposed to adopting SuDS. Other communities and organizations are piloting projects, however. Thames Water is piloting its ‘Greenstreets‘ program in West London and is cooperating with partners to build SuDS in school grounds within the Pymmes Brook catchment area. Organizations like Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) also work to develop SuDS resources and guidance, including the SuDS Manual. More recently, in late April, CIRIA released the publication “Managing urban flooding from heavy rainfall – encouraging the uptake of designing for exceedance.”