Lords urge Government to consider critical infrastructure status for SuDS

A House of Lords select committee has recommended that the Government takes a more proactive approach to the provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), including re-considering the option of a separate approval regime critical infrastructure status for SuDS.

The National Policy for the Built Environment committee’s report asserts the importance of delivering a better built environment,  but expresses concerns about the quality of new development and warns of the risk of prioritising housing delivery at the expense of other elements of the built environment.

Committee chairman Baroness O’Cathain said: “It is increasingly clear that we need to build more houses in England and we wholeheartedly support that objective. However if we build those houses in the wrong place, to a poor standard, without the consent of local communities we are only storing up future misery for the people in those houses and others nearby.

She called on the Government to review the National Planning Policy framework to “make sure developers aren’t using financial viability to play fast and loose with design quality and sustainability. If developers submit substandard plans local authorities should be able to ask them to think again without builders falling back on questionable viability assessments to get their way.”

On the subject of sustainable drainage, the Building Better Places report said, “The evidence we received … saw a consensus that the provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) was of key importance to future urban water management. SuDS are intended to mimic natural drainage systems and can incorporate features such as permeable surfaces, green roofs, ponds and wetlands, and underground storage. They provide an alternative to drainage of surface water through pipes to watercourses, which may increase flood risk.”

In its recommendations, the Committee’s report said, “We recommend that the Government takes a more proactive approach to the provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems. The Government should consider whether to introduce a separate approval regime, as was envisaged in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, or whether to upgrade the status of Sustainable Drainage Systems to critical infrastructure.”

Download the The  Building Better Placesreport.



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