SuDS adoption in England and Wales



While there are non-statutory technical standards for SuDS at the time of writing this page (August 2017), there is no consistent approach to allocating the long term responsibilities for SuDS maintenance and adoption across England and Wales. This is likely to remain the case as the devolved Welsh Government is exploring different options.

In England, the DCLG ministerial statement released in December 2014 states that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) should “ensure that through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development.”

As a consequence it is advisable for developers and their consultants to give early consideration to the maintenance requirements for their SuDS scheme and potential routes for Adoption. They should then also engage with the LPA and the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) early on to explore mechanisms for adoption. Some LLFAs and/or Highway Authorities are adopting SuDS, however this is not uniform across England and neither are the SuDS components or design requirements that they use.

A susdrain fact sheet produced in 2015 provides details of some SuDS maintenance and adoption options. It is recommended that this should be discussed with the LPA and LLFA as early as practicable.

Water UK is also considering the role that sewerage undertakers may have in adopting some SuDS components and are working on a framework and guidance to be included in Sewers for Adoption 8 (due sometime in 2018). The regulatory framework that affects sewerage undertakers and legislative definitions are likely to have a bearing on the types of components they can adopt.

Non statutory technical standards for SuDS

Non-statutory technical standards have been produced by Defra for England and the Welsh Government for Wales. There’s an expectation that SuDS will be designed and constructed in accordance with these brief standards that are also consistent with the SuDS Manual. A number of local authorities have produced their own policy and guidance that should be followed, the LPA should be contracted with regards to their local requirements at the earliest opportunity.


English non-statutory SuDS technical standards 

Defra, 2015

Standards for the design, maintenance and operation of SuDS.


Non-Statutory Technical Standards for Sustainable Drainage: Practice Guidance

LASOO, 2016

Guidance on the English non-statutory SuDS technical standards produced by the LASOO advisory group.



Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA), has not (and is unlikely to be) commenced in England and this deals with SuDS. However, the Welsh Government is proposing to commence Schedule 3 that calls for the establishment of a SuDS Approving Body (SAB) to be set up within lead local flood authorities (LLFAs).

The Act requires SAB approval of all new drainage systems for new and redeveloped sites and highways to be obtained before construction can commence. It also requires that the proposed drainage system meets National Standards for Sustainable Drainage. These National Standards are concerned with the design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS.

If the National Standards for SuDS are met, then the SAB will be required to adopt and maintain the approved SuDS that serve more than one property. The SAB will be a statutory consultee to the planning process.

To find out further information about the Standards and specific roles and responsibilities relating to SuDS and SABs in Wales, please visit the Welsh Government’s website that covers the SuDS consultation.


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