Sustainable drainage includes a variety of components, each having different approaches to managing flows, volumes, water quality and providing amenity and biodiversity benefits.


SuDS are not just traditional soakaways, ponds or wetlands, but are a suite of components working in different ways that can be used to drain a variety of sites. SuDS components work in several ways: they can infiltrate (soak) into the ground, convey (flow) into a watercourse (or if necessary a sewer), they can also provide storage on site and attenuate (slow down) the flows of water. Often SuDS schemes use a combination of these processes and components may use a number of mechanisms.


The susdrain website provides an overview of the wide variety of SuDS components. It includes those components typically regarded as “green”, “soft” or “landscaped” that include vegetation and those that are often more “grey” infrastructure approaches, “hard” or “engineered” components like (geocellular drainage).  When selecting SuDS components the site opportunities and constraints need to be fully considered, it is sometimes schemes that provide a combination of approaches that provide the best results.


There’s a variety of ways to split and present the components, and there is often some overlap. For the susdrain website we’re looking at components that can be classified as:



The SuDS Manual provides detailed information on the design of these components. The information here is just an overview, however we have tried to outline suitability, pros and cons. Within the classifications we’ve also presented some benefits too, using the key below.


Benefits key


Manage local flood risk


Manage water quality


Enhance biodiversity


Provide amenity/community opportunities


Provides educational opportunities





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