30Apr 2020

Kinross-shire Raingardens Challenge

Brian J. D’Arcy, for the Kinross-shire Civic Trust Raingardens Challenge


CIRIA is pleased to support an interesting initiative in Scotland in 2020: The Kinross-shire Raingardens Challenge, which is promoting SuDS.


Kinross and its surrounding areas are served by a combined sewer, with overflows draining to Loch Leven, a Ramsar wetland and National Nature Reserve. There is some localised flooding issues too.


We are grateful to the Kinross Newsletter for permission to publish these articles as Susdrain blogs.



Yes, after some months of hard work and dialogue, we can confirm Kinross-shire is to host a Raingardens Challenge!  Led by the Kinross-shire Civic Trust, the aim is to have 20 raingardens in 2020.

We are following the simple meaning of the term ‘raingarden’ adopted by the Scottish Green Infrastructure Forum (


A vegetated feature designed to accept rainfall runoff

In earlier issues of the Newsletter, we’ve written about the potential of using greenspace in our town and villages to create pleasing landscape features which can accept rainfall draining off roads, roofs and other impervious areas.   The objective is to add flower beds – sometimes wildflower features, in other instances more like traditional garden planting with a wetland element – to our built environment to soften the harshness of a landscape often almost devoid of plants.  The innovative aspect is the use of the landscape features to accept rainfall runoff, contributing to managing flood risks.  If carefully designed, these raingardens help manage the greater rainfall intensity associated with climate change, as well as enhancing the appearance of the area.


To manage the potentially scouring impact of rainfall draining off a road for example, a complete cover by plants is desirable (see the roadside grass-and-wildflowers swale taking runoff from the link road in West Kinross for example).  In smaller units, stones and gravel can be used to mitigate the impact of surges in runoff into the feature.


Swale in late summer, Kinross

We have some grass swales (e.g. West Kinross), but they can be improved in a few details.  There are however other types of features we don’t yet have in Perth and Kinross, but which are widely used in some other parts of the world (e.g. USA, Australia – and now in Cardiff in Wales).


Cardiff raingarden – why not in Kinross too?


The Kinross-shire Raingardens Challenge is about encouraging Perth and Kinross Council, local businesses, and individuals to consider installing raingardens or making modifications to their drainage systems to create improved rainwater management by creating raingarden features.  We hope to have awards for participating businesses and households and be able to celebrate success at events in 2021, including rewarding efforts to manage existing features and restore failed ones.


How you can get involved

  • If you have a regularly flooded car park your premises, contact us before going for conventional reinstatement and see if there can be a raingarden solution
  • If a road gully is regularly failing near you raise it with the Council (and Councillors); ask if they would consider a raingarden solution (no gully, remove a section of kerb and allow direct surface flow into the feature); Perth & Kinross Council contacts in the Newsletter.
  • We hope to be able to offer advice and some help as the project gathers support.
  • In the interim, please don’t fail to let SEPA and Scottish Water know if you see or are aware of problems with local flooding and sewage overflows from the drainage system or treatment works in Kinross, Milnathort and Kinnesswood. SEPA pollution hotline is 0800 80 70 60 and Floodline is 0345 988 1188; see


For Scottish Water: or To report a flooding incident which appears to be contaminated with sewage: Call the Customer Helpline on 0800 0778 778


Finally for this article, we wish to thank Hannah and the Kinross Newsletter team, SEPA, Scottish Water, Perth and Kinross Council, and Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, for their support.

Chair and Secretary of Kinross-shire Civic Trust after meeting with Scottish Water


Brian J. D’Arcy, for the Kinross-shire Civic Trust Raingardens Challenge


Our Partners