Why are SUDS not compulsory?
The idea of Sustainable (Urban) Drainage Schemes or SUDS has been around for a long time. The idea is to make developments such that when there is high rainfall, the water takes a path, either returning to the local groundwater or to the nearest river, without flooding properties or infrastructure. This means allocating part of a development to the Green Infrastructure needed to enable the water to do this.
The Flood Act of 2010 obliges builders to landscape developments so that water from roofs and driveways seeps into open ground, rather than rushing into the water system.
This does beg the question as to why the Government does not make SUDS compulsory.
One of the reasons for this not happening is that for SUDS to work effectively they need to be maintained. If a SUD is included in a development, who would be responsible when the developer has sold all the properties?
In practical terms it is likely that the Council would need to adopt the SUD and then bill the homeowners for the maintenance of the SUD. With further Local Authority cuts it is clear why they are shying away from this option.
With flooding becoming an increasing threat should SUDS be made a priority? After all there are also many other benefits including the breakdown of pollutants by the vegetation, the amenity value of the land and improved biodiversity.