Retrofitting to Manage Surface Water: CIRIA

CIRIA’s seminal document on retrofitting SuDS represents a significant milestone in the development of SuDS thinking and practice in the UK.

The document is the culmination of the work of leading UK experts and wide industry collaboration and goes far beyond a ‘how-to’ guide to outline a vision for transformational surface water management practices. It encourages more forward-thinking and innovative approaches in future, closely linked with the principles of good urban design.

According to CIRIA, the guidance “promotes a different approach to managing surface water runoff to sustain communities that are pleasant and vibrant places to live in”.  The document sets out the processes that can achieve this.

Regulatory change in the UK has focused on making SuDs compulsory for new development and redevelopments, but retrofitting presents a much greater opportunity and challenge.   The guidance is designed to help find better ways of reducing flood risk by implementing sustainable at-source drainage principles whilst at the same time improving wildlife habitats and creating more pleasant places to live.

The 272-page guidance makes it clear how retrofit SuDS should be designed to deliver multiple benefits and presents 22 different diverse case studies both from the UK and around the world.

It demonstrates how retrofit surface water management measures can be considered from the strategic to the opportunistic, recognising that ‘no space is useless’.   It sets out a range of measures according to the urban setting and shows how multiple uses of urban ‘assets’ can be achieved, for example creating highways as blue corridors or parkland as temporary flood storage.

Traditional approaches to urban drainage will become increasingly unaffordable.  Retrofitting SuDs offers more flexible and adaptable approaches to deliver multiple benefits and improve quality of life within the principles of good urban design.

To purchase a copy of Retroffiting for Surface Water Management visit the CIRIA website. .

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