SuDS law—keeping up to date with sustainable drainage requirements

SuDS law—keeping up to date with sustainable drainage requirements

New practical guidance has been released on sustainable drainage requirements to assist commercial property, planning and environmental lawyers advising on new build developments. Paul Ellis of GeoSmart Information explains what SuDS are and why the guidance is important for practitioners.

The guidance has been prepared by the highly respected barrister and author of “Water and Drainage Law”, John Bates, of Old Square Chambers. It provides the author’s view of good practice in the area.

With priority now given to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), lawyers have to do more to satisfy their duty of care to clients. Lawyers need to advise clients how SuDS might impact their development sites and give rise to long-term management responsibilities.

The guidance comes as Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) continue to implement stricter planning controls in favour of more sustainable drainage due, in part, to the challenges presented by climate change.

What are SuDS?

SuDS are the preferred approach to managing drainage from surface water runoff in and around developments. They control surface water runoff close to where it falls and are designed to replicate, as closely as possible, the natural drainage from a site before development to ensure that:

  • the flood risk downstream does not increase as a result of the site being developed; and
  • the site will have satisfactory drainage under current and likely future climatic conditions.
Presumption in favour of SuDS

Drainage requirements follow a “hierarchy” of planning approval – and in there is a presumption in favour of SuDS, where appropriate. The guidance note recommends that:

Lawyers should commission a pre-application SuDS report to ascertain whether SuDS are appropriate or not, because this has important legal repercussions for your client.”

SuDS can take up a significant area of a site and have project costs and long-term maintenance impacts that clients need to be alert to.

Lawyers must make reasonable enquiries

Subscription Form

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:

Already a subscriber? Login
RELX (UK) Limited, trading as LexisNexis, and our LexisNexis Legal & Professional group companies will contact you to confirm your email address. You can manage your communication preferences via our Preference Centre. You can learn more about how we handle your personal data and your rights by reviewing our  Privacy Policy.

Access this article and thousands of others like it free by subscribing to our blog.

Read full article

Already a subscriber? Login

About the author: