Adopting a multidisciplinary approach to deliver successful SuDS
“SuDS, what are SuDS?” “How many houses do I need to lose to make room for this pond?” “How can I fit these SuDS around my development?” These are just a few of the typical questions a drainage consultant is likely to have been asked at some point by an applicant preparing a planning application for a ‘major development’. With nearly two years past since the Ministerial statement on the requirement for SuDS in major developments was announced, it is becoming clear that there is huge variation in approaches and successfulness to securing SuDS for new developments.
As a consulting engineer specialising in Flood Risk Management and Sustainable Drainage, I find myself at the forefront of providing specialist advice to developers, ensuring new developments integrate SuDS. It is rare that well integrated SuDS require no consultation and more often than not, considerable discussion is required with the applicant, alongside their designers/architects, planning consultants and the wider project team to help devise a masterplan which meets all of the requirements of the statutory consultees, such as the LLFAs.
Over the past 12 years I have witnessed a great deal of change in the Government’s approach to delivering SuDS. With the formation of the LLFAs there has been a greater focus on the requirements for delivering achievable SuDS schemes, however, this has in part led to inconsistencies in the advice provided by different LLFAs. In June 2017, I was invited to attend the Local Authority SuDS Officers Organisation (LASOO) conference held in London, where I provided a voice to communicate the frustration which is currently experienced by both the developer and the consultant. Good progress was made at the conference and like any major changes in life, there is always a period of adjustment, time to reflect, lessons to learn, and compromises to reach.
It is only from experience that things can improve, and over the past two years building good relationships with the LLFAs have proved to be of paramount importance when delivering successful SuDS schemes. In my opinion, it is only by liaising openly with the LLFAs that we can really make SuDS an integrated part of the development process and one which will be openly accepted and embraced by developers in the future.
Simon Maiden-Brooks BSc. (Hons) MSc. C.Eng C.WEM MCIWEM, Technical Director and Partner, Herrington Consulting