SuDS adoption in Scotland

Maintenance of SuDS within the boundaries or curtilage of a private property, such as a residential driveway or a supermarket car park, is the responsibility of the land owner or occupier.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the statutory agency responsible for protecting the water environment. SEPA requires the use of effective, appropriate sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) features in new developments. SEPA provides SuDS guidance on its website.

SEPA’s preference is for SuDS constructed outside the boundaries or curtilage of a private property to be adopted by Scottish Water, the local authority or a public body, and as such SEPA seeks a guarantee for the long term maintenance and sustainability of any SuDS implemented.

Sewers for Scotland 4th Edition (SfS4), published in October 2018, contains Scottish Water’s construction standards for detention ponds, detention basins, end of pipe swales and end of pipe filter trenches. If a SuDS for a development is constructed to these standards, Scottish Water has a duty (at the developer’s discretion) to adopt the SuDS and thereby become responsible for it.

The Water Assessment and Drainage Assessment Guide (WADAG) was published by the Scottish SuDS Working Party in January 2016.  The WADAG is intended to help guide developers, planners and others involved in water and drainage infrastructure through the necessary stages to obtain relevant permissions and comply with standards and policies. 

Section 7 of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 allows for the roads authority and Scottish Water to connect to each other’s drainage systems where reasonable to do so. The SuDS for Roads guidance document was published in 2010 and provides a collaborative framework for a more integrated drainage approach.

It is anticipated that in a growing number of circumstances the local authority, in its role as the roads authority, may take on part or all of the SuDS as part of a surface water management plan.

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