“Radical” London SuDS Action Plan Opens for Consultation

A “radical” action plan for SuDS aiming to bring about a “step change” in how rainwater is managed in the Capital has been announced.  The plan is needed to prevent over-capacity in London’s sewers that could risk major flooding by 2050, according to a new draft report led by the Mayor of London.

The London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan has opened for three-month consultation, seeking to “roll back the tide of grey, impermeable surfaces and replace them with a mosaic of new green features, such as raingardens and green roofs” recognising “the value of rainwater, seeking to capture, use, delay or absorb it, rather than reject it as a waste by-product.”

The Mayor Boris Johnson, in partnership with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and London Councils have published a draft of the first London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan. This is a long-term plan intended to inspire, facilitate and co-ordinate a step-change in how  rainwater is managed in the Capital. Thames Water also announced £20 million funding for SuDS and Green Infrastructure measures.

According to the announcement by the Mayor’s office, 17 per cent of permeable ground surface in London has been lost over the last 40 years, largely thanks to the trend for home-owners to pave over their front gardens. This has effectively ‘waterproofed’ the city, driving more rainwater into London’s traditional drainage system which is already 150 years old.

Bazalgette Tunnel Limited, whi are constructing the Thames Tideway Tunnel, will sponsor the creation of a full-time post at the Greater London Authority to work in concert to implement the London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan, says the announcement.

The Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Matthew Pencharz said: “Sustainable drainage is a win-win for London – reducing flood risk while also increasing the amount of green space in our city, which is great for providing new community spaces, improving air quality and beautifying our streets. We need new sewers like the Thames Tideway Tunnel but cannot keep building them endlessly, which is why sustainable drainage is necessary. Today’s action plan is just part of a wider initiative by the Mayor of London to encourage sustainable development, which is vital to support our city’s population as it continues to grow.”

Thames Water Director Richard Aylard said “We work really hard to make sure our sewers are as empty as possible whenever heavy rain is expected but it’s important we also look at how to reduce surface water getting into them in the first place. We’ve set aside £20 million to help support sustainable drainage projects across our patch over the next five years. Our aim is to help create at least 20 hectares, which is equivalent to about 30 football pitches, of green infrastructure to capture rainwater by 2020.”

Take part in the consultation. 

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