Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government laid a Written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on 18 December 2014 setting out changes to planning that will apply for major development from 6 April 2015. In considering planning applications, local planning authorities such as Braintree should consult the relevant Lead Local Flood Authority on the management of surface water; satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development.

Therefore from 6 April 2015 local planning policies and decisions on planning applications relating to major development are required to ensure that sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are used for the management of surface water.

Major development is development involving any one or more of the following:

(a) the winning and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits;

(b) waste development;

(c) the provision of dwellinghouses where -

  1. the number of dwellinghouses to be provided is 10 or more; or
  2. the development is to be carried out on a site having an area of 0.5 hectares or more and it is not known whether the development falls within sub-paragraph (c)(i);

(d) the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square meters or more;

(e) development carried out on a site having an area of 1 hectare or more

What does this mean for applicants

December’s Written Ministerial Statement sets out new policy on sustainable drainage systems which should be read alongside the NPPF. This means that sustainable drainage systems are a material consideration in all major development, irrespective of location, wherever sustainable drainage systems would be appropriate.

There is therefore an expectation that robust and sustainable arrangements for the maintenance of sustainable drainage systems will form part of new major development proposals. Applicants will need to submit sufficient information, both in respect to the design of systems and their future maintenance to enable the Lead Flood Authority and therefore the Local Planning Authority to discharge its duties.

The following checklists should be completed by the applicant and submitted as part of the relevant planning application in order to demonstrate that the necessary information has been supplied to assess the suitability of the proposed sustainable drainage system, in line with Paragraphs 103 and 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Failure to provide any of the information requested may result in the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) making recommendation for refusal of the planning application on grounds of insufficient information.

Checklist 1 – Full Applications

Checklist 2 – Outline Applications

NOTE: The following applications are not considered to have a significant impact on surface water drainage Therefore the Lead Local Flood Authority will not be providing bespoke comments unless the site sits within a Critical Drainage Area (CDA), as defined in the Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs).

  • Minerals extraction
  • Greenfield development that doesn't increase impermeable land by more than 0.25ha
  • Brownfield development that doesn't increase the impermeable land by more than 0.1ha

Design Guide

Essex County Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority, has produced a design guide for Sustainable Drainage Systems which is available on their website.

Pre-Application Advice

The Lead Local Flood Authority provide a pre-application advice service to help with the design and incorporation of SuDS into new development. This can be combined with the Council’s own pre-application advice service where appropriate. See the ECC website for further information.

Statutory Consultation

From 16 April 2015 Essex County Council in its capacity as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) became a statutory consultee for planning authorities determining planning applications for major developments.

For general enquiries relating to SuDS please email suds@essex.gov.uk.

Further Information

Further guidance can be obtained from the following sources: