‘Simple SuDS for Local People’ – new community guide launched on sustainable drainage

The idea is brilliant and simple. Copy nature to make our drainage systems work better. The benefits? Reduced flooding, greener spaces, cleaner air and water, more varied and healthier wildlife. And it doesn’t even need to be expensive. National planning regulations now say that new developments should have it. Professional bodies say it’s a good thing. But until now, it has been hard for the rest of us to find out what Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) actually are. Most information about them has been written by scientists and technical experts for professionals.

Now, a new guide has been created that puts the simple back into SuDS.

  • ‘Simple SuDS’ is a guide for local people by local people. It aims to provide the information that non-experts need to be able to monitor both the installation and the maintenance of SuDS in local developments.
  • The writers have had a huge amount of technical support from CIRIA, Universities, Lead Local Flood Authorities, Water Companies and IDBs, not to mention all the ‘floodies’ who contributed their knowledge and time. Although simple, this guide is technically accurate.
  • Simple SuDS is designed to be a ‘living and breathing’ document that will develop over time as residents, flood and community groups contribute their knowledge (and photos!) to the guide. The guide is accompanied by a contact details to send information back to the authors, Phiala Mehring (National Flood Forum trustee, independent member of the Thames RFCC) and Teresa Bridgeman (Chair, West Somerset Flood Group, Vice Chair, West Somerset Flood Board, Convenor, West Somerset NFM People and Partnerships Group).

As SuDS become more prevalent, it is becoming more and more important for all of us to know a little more about SuDS and how they should be maintained. The first contact that many residents have with SuDS is often unfortunately when things go wrong. This can cause flooding, pollution or damage to the environment. When things do go wrong local residents often don’t know whom to turn to for help, what ‘help’ should look like or even what ‘wrong’ is.

This Simple SuDS guide takes residents and community groups through the basics of SuDS, what they are, what they look like, who is responsible for them, and what residents and communities can do if something is wrong. It then looks, one by one, at individual SuDS features, their maintenance needs and what might go wrong

We want the guide to help more residents and communities to engage with SuDS and have the confidence to be involved in their upkeep. Ultimately, we hope this guide will help communities come to understand the benefits of SuDS rather than being rudely awoken to their existence when something goes wrong or damaging them because they simply don’t recognise what they are.

Because this is a local people’s guide, for it to be successful, we need your help. Please circulate this widely via social media, in the day to day contacts you have with communities and local authorities and by posting this document on your flood related or environmental website. SuDS are community-related assets, let’s ensure that communities have a fighting chance of understanding them!

Contact details: Phiala Mehring;, Twitter: @PhialaM or through Linkedin and Teresa Bridgeman;, Twitter: @BridgemanTai

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