Where new developments are proposed, the ability to effectively drain the site is very important and should be a concern for both the planner and the developer. From the developer’s perspective, effective drainage (in terms of the minor and major system) is essential in order to deliver maximum value from investment as the inability to gain flood insurance on normal terms can significantly affect property values. The planner’s role is important, not only to ensure that the proposed development can be effectively drained above and below ground, but also that there are no significant consequential effects downstream. There are also other synergies that could be exploited in terms of delivery of green infrastructure, highways and broader environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Planning applications have to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the “development plan”. There is a requirement for planners to consult the various bodies responsible for drainage such as the Environment Agency, sewerage undertaker and local authorities drainage engineers including highways.
Developers need to consider site drainage early in the development process, and certainly no later than the stage of land acquisition, since drainage can affect land value. The layout of a site can have a substantial impact on the ability to cost-effectively deliver SuDS and manage extreme events in the developed area. Designers should consult responsible bodies at an early stage before submission of the planning application (whether outline or full) and this would greatly assist planners in reaching their decisions. This should be considered in detail by both developers and planners.
This is all likely to change with the eventual implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act in England and Wales.
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