Blog

Retrofit Vision Must Drive Industry Thinking

June 29, 2012

Written By: Phil Collins European Sales Director, Hydro International

At the launch of CIRIA’s seminal guidance on Retrofitting for Surface Water Management, I was struck most by what a visionary piece of work this is. Every speaker seemed infected by the same passion for change, just as much as that passion is evident between almost every line of this ground-breaking 272-page document. There’s no […]

New Training and Guidance Meets SuDS Approving Body (SAB) Concerns

June 27, 2012

Written By: Alan Corner Associate Director, Hydro Consultancy

A SAB training session underway

Local authority delegates attending the first of our new training sessions for SABS have welcomed the guidance and support it has provided against a background of continuing uncertainty. The training, organised by Hydro International, Arup and Micro Drainage Ltd is dedicated to providing practical and pragmatic advice to SABS on how to interpret Government guidance […]

The Top 7 Unanswered Questions on SuDS Standards

June 26, 2012

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

With one voice, a cry for ‘clarity, clarity, clarity’ has gone out to Government in response to the National SuDS Standards consultation.  There are strong indications that both local government and industry believe the standards, as they currently stand, are not yet fit for purpose. The devil is definitely in the detail as far as […]

Regulating urban diffuse pollution

June 20, 2012

Written By: Brian D’Arcy Independent environmental consultant

“The problem is, we aren’t able to regulate diffuse sources” is occasionally heard from speakers at conferences or in discussions with water industry colleagues.  Whilst that may be true, it is not the same as stating that diffuse sources cannot be regulated. But the belief is a problem.  Nearly forty years ago, The Control of […]

The Beauty of a Vortex….

May 16, 2012

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Admiring the beauty and elegance of natural patterns and processes is something that I believe all us engineers do.  The vortex is a particular object of fascination for water and drainage engineers because of its simplicity and power. Yet, as Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – and simplicity can take […]

Soft options for WFD – guidance for roads, and industrial estates best practice

May 2, 2012

Written By: Brian D’Arcy Independent environmental consultant

Measures to control diffuse pollution, as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), are often described as ranging from “hard regulation” to “softer” approaches, such as technical manuals and codes of practice; educational initiatives involving sector engagement. For urban diffuse sources, new initiatives to develop best practice guidance can have a role to play for […]

It never rains….?

April 27, 2012

Written By: Phil Collins European Sales Director, Hydro International

As drought was followed by deluge, recent weather patterns underlined the urgency of finding sustainable means of controlling surface water flows has not diminished.Flooding exacerbated by a ground hardened through drought prevented surface water infiltrating through the soil. Climate change is leading both to longer, dryer periods and to more intense storm events, which meteorologists […]

Let’s Get Nibbling!

April 25, 2012

Written By: Sue Illman Managing Director, Illman Young

The new SuDS Retrofitting guidance by CIRIA was launched this last Monday (23 April), after a very long gestation period, and I was really pleased to finally have it available, and to have been part of one of the launch events. A few things sprang to mind as a consequence of the session, with the […]

SuDs get out clause would be ‘unmanageable’

March 26, 2012

Written By: Beryl Kemplen Engineering Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council.

So, the consultation on the National SuDS Standards is closed, and we are all eagerly awaiting the outcome. The draft standards are much as expected, but I am surprised, and more than a little concerned, that they contain such an unmanageable get out clause allowing any development to be exempt from SUDS if the SUDS […]

When will we have a truly sustainable drainage infrastructure?

March 14, 2012

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

As Defra’s consultation on National Standards for SuDS came to a close, I was prompted to ask the question: how long will it be before they have a measurable impact on our surface water management infrastructure in the UK? The answer is, surely not for many years.   Set to become law in Autumn 2012 at […]

Is Transferring Software Around the World the Key to Advancing WSUD?

February 21, 2012

Written By: Prof. Mark Fletcher Director / UKMEA Water Leader - Arup

Urban Design, Manchester. Courtesy of Illman Young

Is transferring software around the world the key to advancing Water Sensitive Urban Design ? (WSUD) or should we understand the context of the place in which we want to develop WSUD first? It is very easy to get carried away with the bells and whistles of software but what really works is when we […]

Do water and sewerage companies wave goodbye to surface water?

February 2, 2012

Written By: Simon Bunn Sustainable Drainage Engineer, Cambridge City Council

One of the most interesting parts of the National SuDS Standard consultation is not what is in it but what is in the consultation on the automatic adoption of new gravity foul sewers and lateral drains. This implements a change in the Water Industry Act that was proposed in the Flood and Water Management Act. […]

SuDS maintenance funding arrangements could be a ‘logistical nightmare’

January 30, 2012

Written By: Gordon Hunt County Drainage Engineer, Oxfordshire County Council

Local authorities still have some big questions over the funding of SuDS schemes as we move towards full implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act. I was attending a Flood Management Conference just before Christmas and was sat listening to a senior official from DEFRA explaining how the funding would be provided to maintain […]

Super-Sewer Debate: A Step Too Far for SuDS?

January 25, 2012

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Aerial Photo of the River Thames

The extent and passion of the debate over the proposed £4.1 billion Thames Tunnel “super sewer” has highlighted the mountain still to climb in reaching a vision for integrated urban water management in the UK which can be shared and owned by all stakeholders including planners, designers, the water companies and the general public. Thames […]

Water Reflections: The Need to Treat Surface Water

January 24, 2012

Written By: Brian D’Arcy Independent environmental consultant

“Of course the concentrations are high – you sampled during a period of heavy rain” … Although a commonplace observation in the old river boards and water authorities of the 1970s, no-one at that time talked about diffuse pollution (contamination associated with wet weather mobilisation of contaminants from land and drainage networks). In the course […]

At Last we have National SuDS Standards…

January 12, 2012

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

DEFRA served up an extra treat for us to digest over the Christmas holidays.  The National Standards for SuDS were published for consultation on December 20.  For the complete industry reaction, I suspect we’ll need to wait until the New Year is well underway. The National Standards are designed to provide a structure for the […]

Water White Paper – “Water for Life”

December 15, 2011

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Photo of a river flowing through countryside

Just as winds and floods lashed the North of England, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced the Government’s long-awaited Water White Paper – with a stern warning of need for action to tackle severe water shortages. The dramatic contrasts in weather conditions couldn’t have provided a more pressing reminder of the impacts of climate change, which […]

Raising a Glass to Visionary Flood Prevention

November 18, 2011

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Official celebrations to mark the success of two pioneering flood prevention schemes have highlighted their pioneering approaches to flood storage and deserve hearty congratulations. Glasgow City Council’s hugely impressive White Cart Flood Prevention project celebrated its official inauguration to much-deserved engineering plaudits on October 31 while Wigan’s visionary Flood Alleviation project was marked with celebrations […]

SuDS or No SuDS – Is that a question?

October 31, 2011

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Photo of an Urban SuDS Design - Courtesy of Illman Young

Press reports of a ‘SuDS Loophole’ that may provide a ‘get out’ from the new National Standards have sent ripples around the industry. The New Civil Engineer exposé suggests Defra is now proposing that Local Authority SuDS Approving Bodies (SABS) can agree a ‘non-SuDS’ solution, if the only options for Sustainable Drainage would be ‘disproportionately […]

Sustainable Drainage – Does Size Matter?

October 19, 2011

Written By: Simon Bunn Sustainable Drainage Engineer, Cambridge City Council

In the case of SuDS is bigger always better? I have heard all sorts of arguments for why a single pond is the only solution to a site’s surface water drainage scheme. “Maintenance will be easier”, “there will be more biodiversity with a bigger pond”,  “bigger ponds have more storage and therefore the risk is […]

Flood Plain? – ‘It had to be SUDS’

October 13, 2011

Written By: Gordon Hunt County Drainage Engineer, Oxfordshire County Council

Whitney Housing Development

My first thought when the Henry Box Development got planning permission was ‘how on earth are we going to drain it?’ The site was within the flood plain, and generally had a very high water table. My next thought was: this had to be a SUDs site. Up to this time we really had only […]

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) – the challenges ahead for SABs

September 22, 2011

Written By: Beryl Kemplen Engineering Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council.

We have come a long way in the last 10 years in getting surface water drainage considered at masterplanning stage on larger developments.  Their outline planning applications are generally accompanied by a comprehensive flood risk assessment and drainage strategy.  There is still, however, a real difficulty in getting these outline proposals reflected in the detailed […]

Water Sensitive Urban Design – too good an opportunity to miss?

September 15, 2011

Written By: Paul Shaffer Associate, CIRIA

The challenges of delivering effective, efficient and reliable water and wastewater services are well understood. That said, it is often far more rewarding to exploit opportunities than spend time overcoming challenges to maintain the status quo. For too long in the UK water has been seen as a problem, best left out of sight and […]

Blue, Green and Grey Infrastructure: what’s the difference – and where do they overlap?

September 2, 2011

Written By: editor

A pond which overflows into underground storage basin.

Proprietary Systems:  The Confluence between Green and Grey Infrastructure in Integrated Urban Water Management All over the world  there is an increasing recognition that stormwater runoff and other wet-weather induced flows from urban catchments (eg. combined sewage overflows) are major sources of pollution into receiving watercourses resulting in water quality impairments and related adverse impacts […]

No pipe dream: Drainage as an ‘Ecosystems Service’

August 3, 2011

Written By: Phil Collins European Sales Director, Hydro International

Landscaped surface water system

Let’s face it: drainage has a pretty unromantic image.  For most, it’s a prosaic, practical necessity – out of sight and out of mind.  The idea that it could somehow deliver a net benefit to the natural environment requires a huge leap of faith. Yet redefining drainage as an ‘ecosystems service’ is no pipe dream.  […]

Sustainable Drainage Systems – SUDS already ‘so last year?’

June 28, 2011

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Just as we in the UK, and especially Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs), are getting to grips with SUDS, the concept is already being overtaken by international thinking.

Is Localism Good for SUDS?

June 28, 2011

Written By: Phil Collins European Sales Director, Hydro International

The Government’s localism agenda may not have moved the goal posts of the Flood and Water Management Act – but it is certainly changing the game.

“Stormwater Management – What about Quality?” Conference (12/5/11)

May 20, 2011

Written By: Alex Stephenson Market Development Director, Hydro International.

A QUESTION of quality set the agenda for a keynote industry conference to discuss the future of urban stormwater management and surface water treatment in the UK. A speakers’ panel of highly-respected industry experts and leading academic took to the podium at the Arup Campus, Solihull on May 12, 2011 to  to explore differing multi-national experiences in […]

Do engineers and landscape architects inhabit the same planet?

May 17, 2011

Written By: Sue Illman Managing Director, Illman Young

I’m a Landscape Architect who has specialised in SUDS design for the last 5 years or so. We’ve come a long way in that time from the publishing of PPS25, Future Water and the Pitt Report through to the Flood and Water Management Act, which one day soon (or more likely October 2012) will be fully […]

Who will be the Consenting Body for Ordinary Watercourses?

May 11, 2011

Written By: Gordon Hunt County Drainage Engineer, Oxfordshire County Council

The Government in its wisdom has decided to spread the enactment of the Flood and Water Management Act over a period of at least two years. From a recent meeting I attended, I understand from Defra that another element of the Act will be announced this October or perhaps next April, and this is who will be the Consenting Body for Ordinary Watercourses. Although this may be one of the small changes the Act makes, it is quite important.